As they christened the Westchester County Center as their new home for the inaugural 2014-15 season, the Westchester Knicks put on a show, but failed to contain Cleveland Cavaliers' assignee Alex Kirk, who scored 24 points while leading the Canton Charge to an 88-84 victory.
If a young gun has size and assumedly enough skill, he's going to be in the NBA. That's just the way it is. So as the 7'0" Kirk looked to take the Knicks' defense to task, he was able to muscle his way inside against some of the team's undersized defenders attempting to play the four and five positions. There's a reason he's in The Association.
But of course, there was certainly a silver lining for Westchester. NBA training camp invitee and subsequent affiliate player Langston Galloway went on to shine, despite the loss. A skillful penetrator towards the basket, Galloway can effectively pick his spots and have his way inside. The instincts are there, as the young gun knows how to play the game.
The tricky thing about Galloway is that despite standing at 6'2" and 200 pounds, he isn't much of facilitator. On opening night in Westchester, he had a couple of nice passes and good looks to his teammates, but his priority remained getting to the hole. Of course, when one is as effective as Galloway is, perhaps it's a positive takeaway that he assertively flaunts what he has.
Galloway's first step to the basket is strong, and he'd probably be able to beat just about any D-Leaguer in a game of one-on-one. But the St. Joseph's product plays like an undersized two-guard, much more so than a floor general.
Should Galloway attempt to transition his game into more of that of a combo guard, or simply embrace his already evident skills? That'll be the question as he tries to find success in the minor league this season.
The youngster's performance was a rare bright spot on the court for Westchester, but the organization did a solid job of selling themselves to fans and providing quality entertainment on night one. The team's minor league hardwood glimmers and boasts similar colors to the one at Madison Square Garden. The contests aim to get fans involved throughout, and there's no doubt a bevy of familiar faces from the Knicks family aimed to help the NBADL club make their new digs feel like home. Team owner James Dolan, General Manager Steve Mills, and longtime Phil Jackson confidant Clarence Gaines were all on hand for the opener. Of course, Westchester G.M. and Knicks' legend Allan Houston was also present, as were former Knickerbockers Anthony Mason and John Wallace.
The loudest cheer of the night undoubtedly went to Larry Johnson, who stood up and waved to the packed in arena, receiving the only roar that could have truly competed with those that occur at The World's Most Famous Arena. He felt the love.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver also showed support on opening night, as did D-League Vice President Chris Alpert.