David Lee was impressed with the shape the newest Knick, Jonathan Bender, is in after not playing an NBA game in four years.
“He’s doing great,” Lee said after practice today. “I told him today that he’s in a lot better shape than I would be if I took a couple years off ... I’d be 400 pounds.
“He looks like he’s in great shape, looks like he’s moving well out there, and he’s just got to find his rhythm.”
Bender did look pretty good on the court this afternoon in his second practice with the Knicks, moving well around the court and hitting some jumpers. Shooting has always been Bender’s strength, and the 7-footer has the size and athleticism to potentially do well in Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system, in which the coach said Bender would be a wing.
“He can guard a lot of people,” D’Antoni said. “He’s one of those guys that fits well with what we’re trying to do ... hits three’s, runs the floor, and has a lot of talent, so we’re excited about the possibilities.”
As D’Antoni watched the 7-footer hit several jump shots during an individual drill at the end of practice, he wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Bender could dress for tomorrow’s game.
“I don’t know ... we’ll see,” D’Antoni said. “He could (dress), because I wouldn’t mind, not knowing how the game is going to go, to get him time as soon as I can, in maybe a non-stressful time.”