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better know a knick

Better Know a Knick: No. 8 Toney Douglas

The Knicks' season begins in about a month. We couldn't possibly be more excited — finally, a Knicks team with barely an Isiah Thomas fingerprint on it! — so, until the season starts, we'll be counting down the ten most important Knicks twice a week until opening night on October 27. The best sign we can give you: Eddy Curry isn't among the eleven. Today: guard Toney Douglas.

The Knicks acquired Toney Douglas for nothing. Well, not for nothing: The Lakers traded the 29th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft to the Knicks for $3 million and a second-round pick next year. This is an example of the Knicks using an advantage that most other teams don't have: The willingness to just drop $3 million — along with salary and a contract guarantee that comes when you pick a guy in the first round — on the chance a low-first-round pick might be able to help.

Put in that perspective, the Knicks have to be happy with the return they've gotten on Toney Douglas. He played 56 games last season, starting 12, and averaged 8.6 points a game on 38 percent three-point shooting. He was able to fill in at the point and, by the end of the season when no one could actually look at Chris Duhon's stupid face anymore, played legitimate minutes. Now that Raymond Felton is around, Douglas should comfortably slide into the backup point guard spot; he can also play the two, though he's probably too small to log too many minutes there. He's athletic, a shooter, and plays better defense than you might expect from a guy his size.

But much of this is beside the point: Mostly, Toney Douglas is just an awfully fun guy to watch and listen to. Excellent Knicks blog Posting and Toasting, echoing a Douglas quote from two summer leagues ago, has actually had T-shirts made of Douglas's favorite phrase: "Do What Toney Douglas Do." Douglas has actually been quoting himself quoting himself in camp this year: He's a fun, likable, goofy guy, Nate Robinson without all the bad stuff that Nate Robinson brings. He's a joy to root for, and has handled his spot behind Felton in the rotation with class and aplomb. Even Coach K likes him, once saying, back when Douglas was at Florida State, "He's is my favorite non-Duke player in the country. I love that guy. I talk about him a lot to our guys. They're probably mad at me." That Coach K likes him is meant to be a point in his favor, by the way.

Douglas's stock has risen enough that he has been mentioned in trade talks for Carmelo Anthony — along with three or four other guys, of course — and even though that's not going to happen, it speaks well for how other teams perceive him. (No one's asking for Landry Fields as a throw-in.) He's a useful, likable guy, and an excellent return on investment already. Do what Toney Douglas Do, people.

Earlier:
No. 9 Roger Mason Jr.
No. 10 Timofey Mozgov
No. 11 Bill Walker

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Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images