3 Knicks Players Remind Larry Brown of His Pistons Championship Trio

Detroit Pistons, 2004 NBA champion

Getty Larry Brown and the 2004 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons

The 2004 Detroit Pistons was the last NBA team without a generational superstar to win a championship.

Do the New York Knicks have what it takes to follow that script?

Larry Brown, the Hall-of-Fame coach who led that Pistons team and who had a brief stop in New York shortly after winning his only NBA title, sees a lot of similarities between his Pistons team and the current Knicks that gives hope for the once-moribund franchise that has righted the ship over the past few seasons.

“[Jalen] Brunson reminds me a lot of Chauncey [Billups],” Brown told New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro. “The way RJ Barrett has improved every year reminds me of Tayshaun [Prince]. And Mitch Robinson, if he can stay on the floor, there’s no telling how good he can be. He has a lot of the qualities that Ben [Wallace] had.”

Like Billups, dubbed “Mr. Big Shot” for his clutch plays, Brunson also thrives in pressure-packed moments. Brunson finished third in the first-ever NBA Clutch Player of the Year race last season.

Barrett plays the same position Prince held with the Pistons championship team. His promising showing in the Knicks’ playoff run last season and the FIBA World Cup this summer might just be the springboard he needs for his breakout in the NBA. If Barrett can consistently defend the way Prince — a regular fixture of the All-NBA Defensive teams from 2004 to 2008 — did, the Knicks could spring a surprise at the top of the loaded Eastern Conference.

Robinson is the Knicks’ defensive backbone, similar to Wallace’s role in that Pistons championship team. If there is anything Robinson can learn from Wallace, the only Hall of Famer in that championship roster — is how to become the ego-less ultimate role player  — do the dirty work and be content on offense.

“We kind of had a team that liked each other, and had a mentality they wanted to make their teammates better every game, every practice,” Brown told Vaccaro. “We were defensive-minded and hard-working, and knowing [Tom Thibodeau] and what he believes in, I know these Knicks are the same way.”

Knicks eye Zion Williamson?

The Knicks entertained the possibility of trading for New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson this summer, according to former New York Post reporter Marc Berman.

“New Orleans is still not sold on Zion Williamson,” Berman said on the Knicks Recap Podcast. “Obviously, there’s a risk there. All eyes are on him this season. I was told the Knicks checked in over the offseason about Zion. That could be a possibility.”

The hulking Pelicans forward considers Madison Square Garden his favorite NBA arena outside New Orleans.

Raptors Coach Reacts to Knicks Lawsuit

NBA rookie head coach Darko Rajaković was taken aback by the lawsuit the New York Knicks filed against him and nine other members of the Toronto Raptors organization over a “mole” allegation.

“I was surprised,” Rajaković told reporters during the Raptors’ media day in Toronto. “I was shocked.”

“I did not know where it was coming from. Obviously, the lawsuit is ongoing. I cannot make too many comments on it,” he added.

“What I can say is I know who I am. I know how my parents raised me. I know what I see every single day when I look in the mirror. I know that there is nothing that I should be worried about. And I cannot wait for this lawsuit to be over so everybody can find the truth,” he continued.

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