Walker Wants to Return to 'Retro Knicks'

GRE
ENBURGH, N.Y.
— The Knicks will likely never get back to the days of Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason patrolling the paint and punishing potential scorers.

But Bill Walker thinks they need to try.

“We weren’t strong defensively last year and it wasn’t a secret,” Walker, who missed practice Tuesday with a strained left groin, said Monday at Knicks media day.

“So this year, that’s the goal. Strengthen up on defense and lock guys down. Just get back to those retro Knicks. Not letting guys score and taking pride in that. Once we do that, we’ll be on our way.”

Only two teams in the NBA — Minnesota and Phoenix — allowed more points than the Knicks (105.7) last season.

The addition of the 7-foot-1 Tyson Chandler should automatically make the Knicks tougher in the paint and harder to score upon.

“We’re going to be better,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We added Tyson, so, we have to be better. If we’re going to compete for a championship, we know we have to be better. Offense will take care of itself, we’ll be fine there. We’ve got two of the best scorers in the league. So our emphasis and guys’ thoughts are: to win big in this league, we’re going to have to up our defense.”

Walker was up and down off the bench last season, averaging 4.9 points and 2.0 rebounds.

“My job is to knock down those open shots and play defense and help on the boards,” he said, “and that’s what I plan on doing,”

Mostly, he said, the team needs to clamp down defensively — retro style.

“If we stick down and play defense, that’s what’s going to get us there,” he said. “We can outscore people, but we can’t give up 100 and score 100. That has to change, and I think this year we’re ready for that to change.

“We’re going to get into teams and turn it up defensively.”

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