Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
With the Knicks set to play their first exhibition game inside the United States against the Boston Celtics Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, they may turn to a foreigner at center.
Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni is strongly considering giving the start to 7-foot-1, 250-pound Russian Timofey Mozgov.
“We’re trying to look at everybody in different spots, but that’s one we definitely want to look at,” D’Antoni told reporters Monday after practice. “I don’t know, do you really want him to go up against Shaq first time around? You’ve got to be able to find him on Thursday.”
O’Neal may or may not play depending on if the Celtics choose to utilize the 38-year-old veteran in the second night of back-to-backs.
“It will be very hard, because he’s a very strong, quick, great player,” Mozgov told reporters. “When I was a young kid, he was like unbelievable when I saw him on TV from playoff games. He was unbelievable, and now I will play against him. It is a good experience.”
Ronny Turiaf started at center in the first two preseason games in Milan and Paris, but managed only 3 of 4 shooting in 41 minutes.
Mozgov, who has a soft touch around the basket and is very agile, made 6 of 9 shots, while grabbing seven rebounds and blocking five shots. He also committed 10 fouls, but D’Antoni said he wasn’t worried about that.
“No, no fear whatsoever,” D’Antoni said. “[The fouls] could happen, but there won’t be any lack of effort out there, I know that much. He’s big, he might as well [play]. There’s no reason not to.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.