On personal and professional level, not many professional athletes had a year as bad as Eddy Curry. Last season, the 6-11 Knicks center battled injuries and weight problems that sidelined him practically the entire season. His image took a huge hit after he was accused of sexual harassing his personal driver last January. He also had his $5.6 million Chicago house (the same one where he and his family were robbed at gunpoint in back in ‘07) foreclosed on. And worse of all, he tragically lost his ex-girlfriend and daughter to a horrible murder in Chicago.
Athlete or not and millionaire or not, these kind of events could make anybody have a meltdown and fall into a depression. But according to Newsday’s Alan Hahn, Eddy has been in New Jersey training hard and as of late week is down to 318 pounds – 40 lbs less than his weight at the end of last season. Curry and his trainers hope they can shed another 10 pounds by the time training camp rolls around.
The former lottery pick’s attitude has also been reportedly great. Curry just wants to put his past behind him and move forward. I have to give him a lot of props for fighting back and trying to get back to being a contributor to a team – something he hasn’t done in at least three years. I believe Eddy Curry will be an asset to the Knicks this season.
By no means am I talking about Eddy breaking out and giving the Knicks 18 and 8. In fact, I’m not even saying he’ll give them 10 points. But I think Mike D’Antoni will find a way to implement Curry into the system, even if it’s just a small role. Obviously, Curry’s game, even in his prime, doesn’t work in a shoot-the-ball-in-seven seconds-or-less offense. But there will be situations where the Knicks will have to play half court basketball and need a big body to help match up against guys like Dwight Howard, Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson.
It wasn’t too long ago when Curry was the go-to-guy on this team. In the 2006-’07 season, he put up solid numbers 19.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. Curry was actually even getting serious all-star consideration. He was basically unstoppable in the key and was the frequent recipient of Jamal Crawford’s alley-oops. But after showing up to training camp out of shape the next season, he fell out of favor with Isiah Thomas and hasn’t been able to bounce back since.
This is the first offseason in a long time where Curry has actually really dedicated himself to coming to camp ready. If he is in game shape come opening night, I believe D’Antoni will reward Curry by finding a place in the rotation for him. I could see him having some nights where he puts up 16 points or even 20 points. Plus, it would be good to showcase him so he can regain any of the trade value he once had. Unloading his contract, which doesn’t come off the books until 2011, would be huge for clearing up room for the summer of ’10. It would be a win-win situation for everybody.
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