Knicks: Sasha Vujacic More Mature and a Leader


When the New York Knicks signed Sasha Vujacic in late July, “the machine” not only reunited with his former head coach in Phil Jackson but also reunited with former teammate and now Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher. Fisher believes that Vujacic is more mature and a leader now, as per Marc Berman of the New York Post.

"“He’s changed some,’’ “I think he’s more mature — natural with his life experiences. He’s much more of a leader than when we played together. Those are things we’re looking from him.”“He’s helped a lot of our guys become more comfortable offensively because he recognizes where the shots are, where the plays can be made. He’s kind of a guy you can copy. When you’re open, shoot the ball and not second-guess yourself.’’"

It sounds like Vujacic is doing exactly what he was brought in to do, showing players the rope, where and when to get shots in the triangle offense. Helping teach the triangle offense was something Vujacic was fully aware of going into the season, as per Ian Begley of ESPN.

"“Of course, of course. I was always someone that helped players on the court. We have a lot of rookies and a lot of younger players –- I still consider myself young by the way -– so we have a great mix of guys and I’m looking forward to teaching them and giving them help,”“I don’t want to be a teacher because we have a coach that will lead us towards something [but] if there’s going to be anything needed for me to show or do I’ll be more than happy to do so.”"

Although teaching the triangle offense isn’t the only thing Fisher has in mind for Vujacic. Knowing how trustworthy “the machine” is in the clutch from their playing days together, it sounds like Vujacic could be playing down the stretch of close games this upcoming season.

"“He’s more than ready to do it. We’ve seen really good things from him this week. [The triangle] is not the only reason he’s here. He’s unafraid of big moments and the decision-making that has to be made during a game.He makes mistakes, but he’s very confident guy.’’"

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Big moments, very confident, nothing can describe Vujacic better than that in the biggest moment of his basketball career, he iced the game at the free-throw line for the Los Angeles Lakers in game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. Vujacic’s free-throws gave the Lakers a 83-79 victory over the Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles their 16th NBA Championship.

Vujacic at age 31 years-old still feels he has plenty in the tank, and feels that he is still in the prime of his career.

"“I think early 30s, you’re in your prime for a guard. I feel great. I was really young when I got in the league and had the pleasure to learn from the best. When you learn from the best, you pick up things that come in handy later on. I’m a little bit wiser now. I feel very young.’’“I feel sharper, to be honest,’’"

Vujacic is an invaluable asset as he helps Fisher mentor all the young players in the team about the triangle offense. Vujacic will also be very valuable in spacing and stretching out the floor with his three-point shooting. “The machine” is a career 37.1% three-point shooter, and shot a career best 43.7% from beyond the arc in 2007-2008, which ranked him as the eighth deadliest shooter in the season.

Fast forward and Knick fans are looking forward to seeing if “the machine” still has anything left in the tank and to seeing what kind of role Vujacic will play in this upcoming season.

Next: Willis Reed on New York Knicks: They’ve Got Potential

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