After spending his first two seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, Ivan Rabb joined the New York Knicks as a two-way player. Throughout the 2019-20 campaign, Ridiculous Upside will follow the third-year forward’s journey through his first season with the Knicks.
Previous Entries: Entry One
After suiting up on opening night against the Lakeland Magic, Ivan Rabb missed the next four games due to a concussion. He returned to the Westchester Knicks line-up on November 22 against the Wisconsin Herd and posted his first double-double of the season (13 points and 12 rebounds), along with three assists and two blocks.
Not only did he close out November with several productive games, but Rabb was one of the main contributors in December. Westchester won three of their first four games in the month. The Knicks went 6-4 in the month and the Knicks’ forward player a role in the team’s success.
“I feel like when I got back, it took me awhile to really get back into a rhythm,” Ivan Rabb told Ridiculous Upside. “I’ve been feeling a lot better and it means a lot because I feel like I’m definitely effecting the game in a positive way. I just want to try to lead as best as I can and get as many wins as we can.”
While it’s known as the Gatorade League, the league’s main focus is development. For a player like Rabb, he is continuously adding more to his game, while he waits for his next opportunity in the NBA.
As Rabb evaluated his progression through the first month, he noted his three-point game.
“I feel like I’m doing my job,” Rabb said. “I would like to see my threes go down some more after all the shots I’ve been putting up. I’m going to keep taking them with confidence. When they start going in, it will change the whole game. I just want to keep playing confident.”
The Knicks forward is on track to surpass his three-point attempts for a season this year, which include his collegiate and professional seasons. He took 43 perimeter attempts last season in the NBA and NBAGL, while converting on 13 of them. While Rabb is a presence on the inside and can hit face-up jumpers, he feels like it’s important for him to establish an outside presence.
“I just want to be comfortable out there because I feel like I can dribble, pass and do all the other things on the wing and I just want to be a threat from every spot on the outside,” he continued. “I’m already a threat on the inside, so I just want a complete game and I feel like this year I want to be more comfortable taking them, so that I continue to get better later on in the season. Continue to make more and take more, so I feel like that’s only going to help the team and myself in the future.”
As the days went on, the Winter Showcase inched closer and closer. After playing four games on the road, Westchester embarked on their annual trip to Las Vegas for the Showcase. Just like every night the ball is tipped in a G League arena, there is great competition being played.
The Winter Showcase is different. While every team is in the same building for a four-day stretch, NBA personnel and scouts are in attendance to scout great talent.
There’s an old adage, ‘Iron sharpens iron,’ that fits well with the NBAGL. While players are consistently working on their game, they are sharpening their skills against other top players in the G League.
While Rabb was under a two-way contract at the event, it meant a lot for Rabb to continue to compete against top talent at the event.
“I feel like we were ready for it,” Rabb said. “I didn’t really take it as I had to do anything too crazy. I just wanted to come out and just play hard as I could. First game, I had a successful game shooting from the field. The second game not so much. But I feel like defensively and vocally and different things like that, I affected the game. So I just want to keep building.”
Ivan Rabb has spent his first two months of his third season with the Westchester Knicks, as he’s playing a role in building something with the team and working on his game. While the 22-year-old forward is looking to carve out a guaranteed roster spot, he is keeping himself prepared in Westchester.
“With Westchester, I’m just trying to work on things that I might not necessarily do when I first go up and play in the games there,” Rabb said. “I just want to be ready. Stay in shape. I already know what I can do on that level. I’ve kind of been there before so I know exactly I feel like I could do what they need me to do. I just want to do the small things and keep building up.”
Note: The interview was done on December 27, while Rabb was under contract as a two-way player.
Stay tuned for Entry three...