NEW YORK — In his first day as a member of the Knicks’ 15-man roster, Cole Aldrich got a DNP-Coach’s Decision.
But the news of the day for the 6-foot-11 former Kansas standout was that he made the cut — outlasting fellow training-camp bigs Ike Diogu, Josh Powell and Jeremy Tyler,all of whom were waived by the Knicks on Friday.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson pointed out that Tyler is injured (foot) and is still “4-5 weeks away” from playing, and that Diogu is more of a 4 than a 5 even if he outplayed Aldrich in the preseason.
“Cole’s mainly a 5 that can play the 5 spot,” Woodson said. “That’s why I elected to keep Cole.”
The No. 11 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Aldrich averaged just 0.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in the preseason, while the smaller Diogu averaged 7.2 and 4.0.
“I feel like I had a good preseason, a good camp,” Aldrich said at his locker before the Knicks lost to Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Bobcats, 85-83, in their final preseason game. “I can continue to work, continue to grow with these guys and get used to their playing style. It’s always hard to come in and play with guys you haven’t played with before.”
If he makes the final roster by Monday’s deadline, he could get some time backing up Tyson Chandler.
The Knicks will also use Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin in the frontcourt, but Woodson has said he won’t play either in back-to-backs and plans to manage their minutes due to injury.
That’s where Aldrich could come in handy.
“I know what I need to do to help this team win, to come in whenever I get minutes, come in to rebound, run the floor, defend, blocks shots,” Aldrich said. “That’s the type of player that I am.”
There will be nights when Stoudemire and/or Martin is sitting on the bench, and that’s when Aldrich needs to give the Knicks quality minutes backing up Chandler.
“We got a bunch of great big guys, Kenyon, Amar’e, Tyson, Metta [World Peace] I guess we can even consider a big guy,” Aldrich said. “We got a bunch of big guys and we all know there’s sacrifices and you gotta just come out when your name’s called and go out there and play.”
Follow Adam Zagoria on TwitterAnd like ZAGS on Facebook
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.