Chicago Sun-Times

Former Bulls Duhon gaining favor in NY

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Wondering where former Bulls guard Chris Duhon fits into the New York plans. The New York Daily News indicates Duhon could start for the Knicks.

Heres the report: To start at point guard for the Knicks these days, there are several basic requirements: The more favorable comparisons you draw to Steve Nash, the better. And if you don't answer to the name Stephon Marbury, you're really ahead of the game.

To no one's surprise, Chris Duhon is two-for-two in those categories heading out of training camp and into the Knicks' first preseason game under Mike D'Antoni, on Wednesday against the Raptors in Toronto. The former Bulls backup has been playing with the first team, with Marbury taking his long-expected demotion.

"He shoots the ball a little bit better than I thought," D'Antoni said of Duhon, a career 39% shooter. "The toughest thing for a point guard is to be able to distinguish between when do I shoot and when do I play for the team. Steve Nash is probably the best at being able to distinguish between my shot and everybody else's shot. I think that's something that with confidence and time, (Duhon will) be able to distinguish better."

Duhon doesn't have to worry about playing time. Although widely viewed as a solid bench player, he's projected as D'Antoni's starting point man.

"The first thing about this offense is, like Steve, you have to be able to never take your foot off the accelerator," D'Antoni said. "There are times you have to slow it down. Like I told (Duhon), 'When you feel it's getting a little bit away from you, you've got to slow it down, get them settled, and then we get going again.' He'll learn that."

Duhon signed a two-year deal at nearly $6 million per season, which was seen around the NBA as the Knicks' typical overpayment for talent. But D'Antoni would rather put the ball in Duhon's hands than Marbury's.

Asked about Marbury's play in Saratoga Springs, D'Antoni delivered a lukewarm endorsement. "He came ready to roll and did everything we asked, played well," he said.

But it's not about Marbury anymore, as the team looks to move him.

The coach has his reasons for trusting his new floor general: Duhon ran a similar offense at Duke. D'Antoni's boss at the Beijing Olympics was Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"Talking with Coach K, he told me what kind of kid he was, how he never gets tired and how he really wants to play this way, and that kind of got my antennae up," D'Antoni said. "So he hasn't been a surprise, because it's true."

But doing it at Duke and performing on a high level for the Knicks are two different matters. "I was a little surprised when the Knicks said they wanted me," Duhon said. "But having watched the Phoenix system over the years, every guard would love to play in that system."

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From the instant that the Bulls got the #1 pick I was of the opinion that we should have kept Duhon as the backup to Rose and trade both Mope a Dope (Gordon) and Hangdog (Hinrich) in a package with either Deng, Gooden and or Nocioni to Miami for the #2 pick (Beasely) That would have left us with a starting lineup of Rose, Sefolosha, Thomas, Beasely and Noah. as well as massive cap room going forward to the summer of Lebron in 2010.

I always thought Duhon was a good backup PG. Dude can't shoot but is a very good distributor and defender. He got a bad rap here because of one screw up

Duhon was awful tonight in the Knicks' first preseason game. Seven turnovers and 1-for-7 shooting. He did have six assists but generally didn't look as he is a very good fit in D'Antoni's fast-paced offense. But it was only one preseason game -- maybe he'll improve? I know the Knicks really don't want to keep marbury, let alone make him the starter, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Duhon on the bench before too long -- he's really not a starting PG at this level.

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This page contains a single entry by Brian Hanley published on October 7, 2008 8:40 PM.

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