So in addition to spending time at the team's facility during practice, Wear is often on the court in the morning working on his craft. He also stays after practice to take extra shots.
And if the Knicks are off, he'll head to the facility to work out with a few other players.
Each time Ware sets foot in the facility, he sees the same set of faces: Derek Fisher and those of his coaching staff.
"They're in here all the time," Wear says.
Fisher has had to make several adjustments in his transition from championship player to rookie head coach.
Calling plays, setting lineups, implementing a new offense -- it's all new to Fisher, who is in his first days as Knicks head coach following an 18-year playing career.
Something else Fisher has had to get acclimated to? The schedule of a head coach.
There are outliers, but NBA players generally start their day in the mid-morning for practice, which usually lasts no more than three hours. Some players show up early, some stay late. But the hours required on a run-of-the-mill practice day aren't all that taxing.
"You basically see one time on the clock and the only thing that changes is the a.m. and p.m. So you see the 6:30 a.m. and you see the 6:30 p.m. and everything in between that is just a blur," Fisher says. "It’s one thing after another. But it’s been great though."
Fisher, who averaged 17.6 minutes per game with Oklahoma City last season, is still in impeccable shape. He's as trim and chiseled as he was in his playing days.
Heck, Fisher would surely be able to crack the Knicks' rotation if he were still in uniform. Not that he has any desire to do so.
Fisher says that he hasn't even been playing pickup since training camp started.
"No, no. That’s one thing I probably won’t do a lot of going forward," said Fisher, who will coach his second game at MSG on Monday. "I was very fortunate to, other than a right foot injury 14 or 15 years ago, [to have] no other major injuries during my career.
"And I am not going to injure myself seriously playing basketball after my basketball career, that’s for sure. So I might injure myself doing something else, but it won't be trying to hustle around playing pick up."
Fisher hasn't discarded all aspects of his life as an athlete, though.
He still spends time in the gym -- though he may not be as meticulous as he was during his playing days.
"Trying to keep the body active and alive and keep some muscle tone so it doesn’t disappear," Fisher says. "But you won't catch me out there after hours shooting pickup, that’s for sure."
An athlete's transition into retirement can sometimes be messy. There can be second thoughts, impulses to return to the field that are hard to ignore (Brett Favre and Roger Clemens to name two examples).
But Fisher, who retired in May and agreed a few weeks later to a five-year, $25 million contract to coach the Knicks, so far looks completely at ease with his decision.
"My body feels great, that's for sure," Fisher says with a smile. "Maybe not [getting] as much sleep [as a coach]. But my body feels absolutely wonderful and to be able to say on that on Oct. 19, that's a pretty good feeling.
"I'm not longing for doing everything that these guys [players] are doing on a daily basis. If I had made that choice, I would be loving every minute of it. I made the choice to be right here where I am and I'm enjoying every minute of this as well," Fisher says. "No time to really think about what else I could have been doing, it’s all about this job."
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
Stoudemire has played with minutes restrictions for most of the past two seasons. Much of last season, he wasn’t permitted by the Knicks’ medical staff to play in both games of a back-to-back. He also couldn’t play more than 30 minutes in a game for the first 50-plus games.
The restrictions were in place in an effort to keep Stoudemire healthy. His knees have given him trouble throughout his career; he had three knee procedures over a 10-month span.
This year, the medical staff and coaching staff has a plan in place to try to keep Stoudemire healthy. But a minutes restriction -- at this point -- is not part of that plan.
“Right now there aren't any minute restrictions, or he can only play the front of a back to back, or any of that,” coach Derek Fisher said after practice on Sunday.
Fisher called the development “great news” for both Stoudemire and the Knicks.
He said the staff has predetermined rest days in place for Stoudemire. But other than the “recovery days” already on the calendar, the expectation is that Stoudemire will be available.
“If we can find ways to be consistent in [scheduling the rest days] then we don't have to judge in the game whether or not it’s too many minutes or whether he can start or [not based on minutes restrictions],” Fisher said. “So we're excited that we can go into the season with an open mind in that regard and it's worked well so far. The days we’ve had as recovery days for him, he's looked great coming back the next day and we think it's something that will work once the season starts.”
Stoudemire said before training camp that he felt 100 percent healthy and predicted that he’d be able to play more than 30 minutes per night. He also revealed last week that he’s been bathing in red wine in an effort to keep healthy. Just where Stoudemire fits into the Knicks’ rotation is unclear at this point.
Andrea Bargnani started the Knicks’ preseason opener at power forward, and Quincy Acy has started the previous three games with Bargnani out due to a hamstring injury.
It is unclear who will start at power forward on Monday in the Knicks’ preseason game against the Bucks.
Fisher, though, has said that he’ll look to create lineups based on which players mesh well together and give the Knicks a chance to compete on both ends of the floor.
In four preseason games, Stoudemire has averaged five points on 34 percent shooting in 16 minutes per game.
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
“He hasn't been able to practice the last few days so it wouldn't be smart to jeopardize him by putting him into game action tomorrow,” Fisher said.
The coach was hoping to have a better handle on lineups and rotations entering Monday’s game against Milwaukee. But Bargnani's absence has made it difficult for Fisher to make a true evaluation.
Fisher had started Quincy Acy at power forward in the last three games, which coincided with Bargnani’s absence. It's unclear at this point who will start at power forward on Monday.
Starting 5 in flux: Fisher will huddle with his coaches on Sunday night to determine the starting five for Monday’s game.
“We're kind of looking at some things,” the coach said after practice on Sunday. “We'll talk about the last four days as coaches, kind of what we observed during a lot of our scrimmages this week and a lot of our five-man activities. We've mixed the groups up a lot and we have some different guys in the frontcourt at times, different guys in the backcourt so we'll kind of reassess who has been effective this week and try to put a good lineup together.”
The biggest lineup uncertainties are at power forward and shooting guard.
Iman Shumpert has started for the past three games at shooting guard. Based on playing time and lineups, it would appear that Shumpert has an edge in the competition for the starting position. Tim Hardaway Jr. and J.R. Smith are also candidates to start.
At power forward, Jason Smith has impressed the coaching staff in the past two games.
Last Tuesday in Syracuse, Smith had 14 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes in the Knicks' win over Philly.
“It wasn’t just me, it was my teammates hitting me on good passes, working the ball around throughout the offense, going through good pace,” Smith said. “It wasn’t just one-on-one basketball. It was definitely moving the ball, pick-and-pop stuff, which that’s generally my game. It’s a credit to our team, really learning the offense, getting with the triangle offense, and running it smoothly.”
Smith said he isn’t overly concerned with starting or coming off of the bench. His shooting and willingness to battle with opposing big men in the paint and around the rim make him valuable.
“Anytime you have a big guy who can shoot mid-range, or really help and space the defense out, it’s gonna be great, especially with this offense. It’s just gonna help our team that much more,” Smith said.
Smith, Bargnani, Amar’e Stoudemire and Acy are battling for minutes at power forward. Bargnani, who missed 42 games last season with an elbow injury, is expected back sometime later this week.
Stoudemire, another player with a history of injuries, has remained healthy throughout camp.
Fisher said the minutes restrictions placed on Stoudemire by the team’s medical staff will not factor into whether he is a starter or comes off the bench.
“We’re excited that we can go into the season with an open mind in that regard and it's worked well so far,” Fisher said.
Question: If you were Derek Fisher, how would you handle the minutes at power forward between Jason Smith, Stoudemire, Acy and Bargnani?
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
“I don’t know if that will ever happen, but that’s the dream,” Anthony said after practice Saturday. “Maybe it will happen 10 years from now when I’m out of the league.”
The Knicks play 20 back-to-backs this season.
Said Anthony: “Fewer back-to-backs is something we should be talking about.”
The conversation over minutes and games was sparked by the NBA’s decision to play a 44-minute preseason game -- which will be held Sunday at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.
To Anthony, the issue doesn’t lie as much with the minutes in a game than it does with the amount of back-to-backs.
“You go on a road trip and you come back, and you’re gone for 10, 11 days 12 days, and you’ve got a back-to-back the last two days, it’s always that last game that someway, somehow we always seem to get a TV game that last game. So it affects you,” he said.
Cole DNPs 'not a demotion': Derek Fisher explained why he decided not to play Cole Aldrich in the past two preseason games. The coach said it had nothing to do with Aldrich’s performance and everything to do with wanting to see Jason Smith, who missed the first two games while his wife gave birth.
“Jason Smith originally was out for personal reasons, so once Jason was back, Cole had played some, it was important that we got Jason some minutes so we could see how he might be able to help us,” Fisher said. “[Cole’s absence] was just a byproduct of that, nothing else. Cole’s been solid and has done everything we’re asking him to do, so it wasn’t a demotion or any reason related to his performance, just continuing to try and find the best way to put our team together.”
Not Fishing for trouble: For those wondering, Fisher said he hasn't played any pickup basketball recently. But Fisher, who retired from playing last season following an 18-year playing career, is still working out. “I was very fortunate to, other than a right foot injury 14 or 15 years ago, [to have] no other major injuries during my career,” Fisher said. “And I am not going to injure myself seriously playing basketball after my basketball career. That’s for sure.”
STAT sits out: Andrea Bargnani, Travis Outlaw and Amar'e Stoudemire missed practice Saturday. Stoudemire was out for a recovery day. Bargnani has missed the past three games because of a hamstring injury. His status for Monday’s game is unclear.
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony doesn't expect to win the NBA scoring title this season, his first in the triangle offense.
In fact, he suggested Saturday that he may score less and take fewer shots in the Knicks' new offense.
"I don't think I'll be the scoring champ. Especially with this system, the way we're playing -- the way that it's going to be well-balanced, the style of play we're going to have, I don't think I'll have to lead the league in scoring this year," Anthony said after the Knicks' practice.
Anthony has established himself as one of the top scorers in the NBA over his 11 seasons in the league. He won the scoring title in 2012-13 by averaging 28.7 points per game, two-tenths fewer than his career high. Last season, he finished second to Kevin Durant.
Anthony has averaged 21.8 field goal attempts per game over the past two seasons. He suggested that number, along with his scoring, may dip this season thanks to the triangle offense, which the Knicks hope will produce quality shots for Anthony's teammates.
"I think shots will be fewer," Anthony said. "I think it will be more effective shots. So if that means taking fewer shots, then that's what's going to happen.
"But I really don't know. We've been playing preseason; it's still early. It's not until you get in the flow of the game that you start knowing the minutes you're going to play, knowing the group you're going to be out there with most of the time. Until you find that rhythm, you're not going to really understand."
Derek Fisher reiterated Friday that "things are still open and fluid" with his starting lineups. One of the biggest question marks surrounds the starting power forward.
Acy has played well in the past three games. But Jason Smith has also impressed the coaching staff.
Smith missed the first two preseason games because of the birth of his daughter. He had 14 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes in the Knicks' win over Philly on Tuesday.
Smith is competing with Acy, Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani for minutes at power forward.
Bargnani has missed all but one of the Knicks' preseason games because of a hamstring injury.
Fisher has said that Bargnani's injury makes it difficult to evaluate his options at power forward.
The coach praised the starting lineup featuring Acy on Friday but hinted that he may change the lineup for Monday's preseason game against Milwaukee.
"Depending on how things materialize with Andrea over the next few days, we may or may not keep it the same," Fisher said.
Fisher impressed with J.R.: J.R. Smith has made some news recently by saying it will take the Knicks a few months to learn the triangle (he's right). But Smith's adjustment to the system thus far has impressed his head coach.
"Jay has been great from day one. He’s engaged, he’s asking questions. He wants to get this right," Fisher said. "And we as a staff, we appreciate it and value it tremendously. The more guys we have like that the better. And so you can see on a daily basis, he’s picking more things up. The type of questions he asks are with understanding of most of it, and then maybe there’s one thing to add to it. But he’s coming along really well and we’re looking forward to what he can do for us as he gets more comfortable."
Fisher was asked Friday if he felt the need to address the issue of maturity or off-court conduct with Smith, as ex-coach Mike Woodson had over the past two seasons when Smith got into trouble with the league and the team.
"What I've tried to do with all of our guys, not just J.R., is kind of manage our relationship based on our relationship and not the relationships they have may have had with other people and other coaches," Smith said. "I can only measure our relationship on our experiences, and so far it hasn't been necessary to address anyone about maturity and accountability and trying to be one of the many leaders that we'll need within our team. J's been great in that fashion, and I don't see any reason why he wouldn't continue. He's a smart player, and he's continuing to figure out ways to be effective within what we're doing."
Question: Do you think Jason Smith should start at power forward?
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
“I thought it was funny. He took time out of his day to think about me and [Knicks president Phil Jackson], so I think it’s great," Smith said after practice Friday. "Being compared to Dennis Rodman anyway I think is a great thing, so I’ll take it, I like it."
“I think the reputation [is similar],” Smith said. “Females. Nightlife. Whatever people want to say about us, we’re kind of similar. I think just in general overall, the way we are. We work hard on the court, we play hard off the court, so I’ll take it.”
Aside from sharing a love of tattoos, Smith and Rodman both have drawn attention for their on- and off-court activity.
Rodman accrued fines/suspensions for, among other things, kicking a cameraman and making disparaging remarks about Mormons.
Smith was fined last season for making a tweet the NBA deemed threatening and for untying opponents’ shoelaces. He was also suspended for the first five games of the 2013-14 season because he violated the NBA's drug policy.
That disparity is another similarity he sees between himself and Rodman.
“Deep down I think he’s a great person, for the people who actually know and take the time and don’t look at the sideline things he does or did, if you get to know him he’s a great person,” Smith said. “I think I’m the same way.”
The Smith-Rodman comparison was actually sparked before training camp by Jackson.
In an interview with the New York Post, Jackson was asked about Smith and whether he can “get through” to him. Jackson invoked Rodman’s name.
“I don’t know if that’s possible or not,” Jackson said. “He might be one of those guys that’s a little bit like Dennis Rodman that has an outlier kind of side to him. But I’m gonna get to know him as we go along, and we’ll find a way to either make him a very useful player on our organization, or whatever.”
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
He was paid $124 million over five years to return to New York, more money annually and overall than any other team could have offered him.
But Anthony said on Thursday that the potential of winning a title with the Knicks, a franchise that hasn't won in 40 seasons, also played a role in his decision to come back to New York.
Anthony was courted by the Chicago Bulls this offseason, and has admitted he may have had a better chance to win a title if he'd signed elsewhere. Instead, he re-signed with the Knicks -- a team that no one thinks will compete for a title this season.
In fact, SCHOENE, the predictive formula that correctly pegged the Knicks for 37 wins last season, predicted that they will win just 32 games this campaign.
Anthony, though, thinks that New York will make the playoffs this season.
"I still believe that," he said. "If I sat here and told you [it] wasn't going to be a playoff team, that would be the biggest story. So it's kind of a lose-lose situation with that. But I still believe that and I'm going to continue believing it."
While a title may not be in the Knicks' immediate future, the organization hopes to be able to add another star player in free agency in the summer of 2015 or 2016 and build a team that can contend.
Asked if he allows himself to think about the possibility of winning a championship, Anthony said, "I dream."
"I have my moments, I dream," he said. "Sometimes that dream is very clear. And sometimes it's cloudy. But that's just how life goes. I'm just taking it one day at a time until that time comes."
Giving back to students: For the second straight year, Anthony donated school supplies to New York City teachers. On Thursday, he donated school supplies to 250 of them. The supplies will impact approximately 4,000 students.
Anthony said he was looking for a way to help students through his foundation.
"What's the easiest way to get to a kid? A school, a teacher. So that was an easy initiative for me to be apart of," Anthony said. "I knew if I could help the teachers, get them the supplies that they need. It's the little things that they need. ... Stuff that people might take for granted, those things might change people's lives."
Anthony hoped that his donation would ease the burden on teachers.
"There's a lot of times the kids come to school and they don't have notebooks, they don't have pens, they don't have pencils. They don't have the outreach for that," he said. "Sometimes the teachers have to go in their own pockets an spend their own money, and that's taking away from them. A lot of times teachers can be overlooked and overshadowed, so I want to make it as smooth as possible. Make it easy and give them what they need."
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
The Knicks guard said he is trying to foster a better, more positive energy.
“It is hard,” Shumpert said. “Because I want to play so hard and I want to win so bad, sometimes I get caught up [if] we lose a couple of games and I get caught up in that bad energy. Those things easily affect me.”
Shumpert is focusing on feeling better physically as well as mentally. Last season, he battled through some knee issues in the same knee on which he had surgery.
He said he is looking forward to being healthier this season and he wants to take a healthier mental approach as well.
“Just limiting distractions, being able to look yourself in the mirror and know you worked hard all summer and, you know I’m going to miss shots, I’m going to make plenty of mistakes,” Shumpert said. “It’s not going to be perfect. Some people are going to like me, some people won’t. It doesn’t really matter. Right now we just got to win games.”
Shumpert said one thing he has done is try to stay away from hearing or reading anything said about him.
“Can’t read anything,” Shumpert said. “Can’t let anything bad get inside. Keep feeding yourself with positivity.”
“I’m 24,” he added. “I’m playing basketball. It’s my dream job. So I’m a pretty happy camper. My Mom told me to smile so I’m just going to smile through it. My worst day I’m just going to try and smile.”
Andrea limited: Andrea Bargnani (hamstring) was limited in practice on Thursday.
Head coach Derek Fisher said he would like to get closer to potentially having his starting lineup and rotation down perhaps by next Wednesday’s preseason game against Washington. But Bargnani’s availability could alter those plans.
“I think Andrea’s getting closer and closer to feeling like we can have him back out there and not worry about it kind of lingering,” Fisher said. “So that could impact [the timetable for a rotation] a little bit, but hopefully by the middle of next week by the time we get to Wednesday’s game we can feel pretty good about having a solid rotation of guys that give our team the best chance to win to start the season.”
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Amar'e Stoudemire played in three preseason games in four nights and said his body and surgically repaired knees felt great.
One reason might be a new red wine treatment Stoudemire has been trying. For more than six months, the Knicks big man says he has been taking baths in red wine at a spa to help his body rejuvenate.
"The red wine bath is very important to me because it allows me to create more circulation in my red blood cells," Stoudemire said after completing a three-hour practice with the Knicks on Thursday. "Plus, it's very hot, so it's like a hot tub. But it's also the red wine ... just kind of soothes the body."
There are spas that provide vinotherapy or vinotherapie. According to the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa in the renowned Plaza Hotel in New York City, "Grape polyphenols fight against free radicals, which cause 80 percent of skin aging. ... In addition to their exceptional antioxidant power, polyphenols reinforce microcirculation, protect elastin and collagen fibers and prevent the destruction of the fundamental elements of the skin's support tissues."
Regine Berthelot, the North America treatment manager for Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa, said the Caudalie Vinotherapie spas do not recommend soaking in red wine "as the alcohol content will dehydrate the skin. At the spa, we use tracts of red vine leaf to soak in the bath to improve blood circulation and strengthen the blood capillaries.
"Drinking red wine is known to have antioxidant properties and the resveratrol is helping to boost the cellular renewal," Berthelot said. "Soaking in red vine leaf will help to strengthen the blood capillaries and improve the blood circulation."
The Knicks should be better than last season right? Well, according to ESPN’s NBA Insider forecast, the Knicks will be one win better than last season.
That’s right, ESPN Forecast predicts the Knicks to go 38-44 and finish ninth in the Eastern Conference, one spot behind the Brooklyn Nets. Ouch.
Insider’s Jordan Brenner writes: “It's hard to imagine things being much better for the Knicks. They have the makings of a fairly effective offense, but their defense could be dreadful, especially after subtracting [Tyson] Chandler and adding [Jose] Calderon to a unit that already struggled at that end.”
Last year, SCHOENE correctly predicted the Knicks would finish 37-45 but had the Knicks placing seventh in the East. They did not make the playoffs, ending in the ninth spot.
This year, SCHOENE projects the Knicks to finish with a 32-50 record.
Jackson made changes to the roster, jettisoning Chandler and Raymond Felton for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert and Shane Larkin. He drafted Cleanthony Early and added the likes of Jason Smith, Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw.
And of course, Jackson hired Fisher to coach. It remains to be seen how this current cast of Knicks will do in the triangle system before Jackson can potentially bring in significant help next summer.
For what it’s worth, my prediction is the Knicks will win 42 games. I definitely think there will be growing pains with the triangle. Fisher has never coached before and there will plenty of bumps in the road. Mastering the triangle is also no easy task. It could take months if not the season to learn it.
But last season, the Knicks lost a few games looking completely unmotivated. The Knicks also lost some games due to mental mistakes and lack of execution late. My guess is that the Knicks won’t lack motivation this season under a new coaching staff with Phil keeping a watchful eye as he assesses who to keep around.
Also, there are key players on contract years as well. Carmelo Anthony wants to prove that he can win playing it Phil’s way in the triangle and that he made the right decision by re-signing with the Knicks. Also, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert are looking for bounce-back seasons.
Yes, the Knicks defense could be severely challenged on many nights. The offense might struggle to adapt to the triangle and there could be some ugly nights. But the Knicks have enough talent around Melo to win 42 games provided they can stay healthy.
What do you think of the ESPN Forecast prediction and what is your prediction for the season?