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Knicks hope old guys can help Amare, Carmelo win

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Knicks hope old guys can help Amare, Carmelo win

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Knicks are so old, two of their players were alive the last time the franchise won the NBA title.

That was 40 years ago next spring.

Desperate to construct a core that would bring out the best in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks loaded up on veterans and built what could end up as the oldest team in NBA history.

They insist they're experienced, not over the hill, and Anthony praises the changes heading into his first full season in New York.

``For the most part when I first came I here, I always said it was going to be a process, it was going to be a growing process for us, a building process and we did that,'' Anthony said. ``It took us a year and a half to figure it out as far as getting guys around us, getting the core group of guys, getting some role guys on the basketball team.

``I think the front office did a great job this offseason putting this team together, building it around myself, building it around Amare, so everybody can be successful right now.''

The old newcomers (new oldcomers?) include Kurt Thomas, the NBA's oldest player at 40, and Jason Kidd, who turns 40 in March. Marcus Camby is 38 and Rookie Pablo Prigioni, Argentina's starting point guard who is finally trying the NBA, is 35. Rasheed Wallace is attempting to make the team at 38 after two years of retirement, and if he does, their 13-man rotation would average 32 years and 240 days old, the oldest in NBA history, according to research by STATS, LLC.

Already there have been concerns about the old guys' ability to hold up. Camby has missed much of the preseason with a strained left calf and may not be ready for the season opener. Wallace wasn't able to join his teammates on the court, spending his first couple of weeks working on the side on his conditioning.

Coach Mike Woodson isn't alarmed, saying on the eve of training camp that the makeup of this roster surrounding his stars gives the Knicks a chance to compete.

``We felt that we needed veteran pieces around those guys. It's not young teams that are winning NBA titles, guys,'' he said.

``I think when you're building a team, a championship team, it's not going to be Melo's night every night, it's not going to be Amare's night every night. I think that's why we've been able to sit here today and really feel good about the veteran guys that we've added.''

The Knicks are expected to begin the season without Stoudemire, who has a ruptured cyst behind his left knee. He appeared in only one preseason game, and whenever he comes back, so will the questions about his ability to play with Anthony.

New York is only 31-40, counting playoffs, in games they appear together. Stoudemire struggled with injuries last season and had his worst stats since he was a rookie. Now he will attempt to expand his game, with Woodson telling him after last season that he wanted the premier pick-and-roll finisher to improve his post play.

Stoudemire worked with former Houston Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon during the summer and said he's open to changing his game, even if before last season he was as good as anyone in the NBA in his role in previous coach Mike D'Antoni's system.

``Whatever wins,'' he said. ``Whatever brings the best opportunity to win games and ultimately get to the playoffs and compete for a championship. Whatever that style is and whatever we do, I'm totally down for it and we've just got to do it to the best of our ability.''

That's where the veteran knowledge can make a difference. Anthony and Stoudemire averaged about 48 points per game together in 19 games with Chauncey Billups in 2010-11, according to STATS, and a player such as Kidd, who will back up Raymond Felton, is a similar wise old man who will command the respect of the scorers and get them the ball in the right spots.

``I think it helps,'' Kidd said, ``when you look at Ray, Pablo, myself, veteran guys who have played the game and understand it, played with scorers and with guys who like to have the ball. And when you have pass-first type of point guards also helps.''

The Knicks had Jeremy Lin there last season, but opted not to match his big contract with Houston. They were young up front behind Anthony, Stoudemire and center Tyson Chandler last season, and obviously that's not a problem anymore.

They overcame the obstacles to finish 36-30 last season, losing in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year. Anthony played some of his best ball when Stoudemire was injured and he moved to the power forward spot, but both have said they can flourish in tandem after finally having a training camp together.

And Anthony is certain they'll have more support than last season.

``It was a couple of spots we were very inconsistent at. The point guard, 2 guard, bigs, we never knew what bigs we were going to have out there. Guys were injured for the last year and a half, so we had to deal with that. Now we're very strong. Three point guards deep at that position. We have shooters, we have bigs, we have depth, so that's something we're going to use to our advantage.''

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Need to Know: The best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 19, seven days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the pass rushers are up. They are roughly ranked by Pro Football Focus’ pass rush productivity metric, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this we looked at the best teamsreceivers,running backs, and quarterbacks

1. Calais Campbell, Jaguars—If he gets a sack against the Redskins in Week 15, many fans will once again rue draft day in 2008 when the Redskins took both WR Devin Thomas and TE Fred Davis in the second round while Campbell was still on the board. He has been a consistent pass rusher since coming into the league, averaging eight sacks a season. Campbell is coming off of a career-high 14.5. 

2. Demarcus Lawrence, Cowboys—He had nine career sacks going into last year and then he broke out in a big way with 14.5. He got three sacks against the Redskins last year and has five in six career games. He actually ranked ahead of Campbell in the PFF pass rush metric, but I put Campbell ahead of him because we’re not sure if Lawrence is a great pass rusher or if he just peaked in his contract year. 

3. Chandler Jones, Cardinals—He posted double-digit sacks in four of the last five years including a league-leading 17 last season. His 2017 performance earned him first-team All-Pro honors for the first time in his career. Jones does more than get sacks. He has 16 career forced fumbles; only five players have forced more since he came into the league in 2012.

4. J.J. Watt, Texans—Injuries have limited him to eight games over the past two seasons. Even if the missed time has him beneath his peak years of 2012-2015, when he was first-team All-Pro every year and defensive player of the year three times, he will be difficult to deal with. 

5. Brian Orakpo, Titans—His career with the Redskins was a mixed bag, with two Pro Bowls and two seasons with double-digit sacks. After Orakpo missed 23 games from 2012-2015, the Redskins didn’t make him a competitive contract offer and he left to sign with the Titans. He hasn’t missed a game in three seasons in Tennessee and has averaged eight sacks per season. 

Best of the rest: Yannick Ngakoue, Jaguars; Clay Matthews, Packers; Vic Beasley, Falcons; Jason Pierre-Paul, Buccaneers; Cam Jordan, Saints

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Redskins six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams was born on this date in 1988.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 7
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 21
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 44

The Redskins last played a game 200 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 52 days. 

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

Alexander Ovechkin's offseason continues to be one for the books. 

Just a week removed from celebrating with the Stanley Cup in Moscow, Ovechkin was named Best Male Athlete Wednesday night at the 2018 ESPYs. 

The 32-year-old is the first NHL player to win the award since it was first introduced in 1993. 

"The Great Eight" beat out Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. 

Ovechkin was not in Los Angeles to accept the award.

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