While Mike D’Antoni returns to Phoenix tonight for the first time since his messy separation from the Suns, the Knicks’ Eddy Curry can be expected to assume his usual position — nowhere near the hardwood.  Phoenix’s Shaquille O’Neal ponders Curry’s career status, declaring the younger center to be “strong and aggressive”. Presumably, Shaq must know of another Eddy Curry.  From the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola :

“He hasn’t come close,” O’Neal says. “I don’t want to say anything that is going to hurt his feelings, but I don’t know what is going on with him. In this league, when you’re touted as something and in your mind you don’t think you’re that, then you either got to put up numbers or you got to play the game.”

O’Neal believes that if Curry is right both mentally and physically, he could thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s system.

“You’ve got to understand the history of the game,” Shaq says. “All the fast break teams had an out-letter. It can be done. You just got to believe in it. I liked Mike’s system. I was the first big man to run the length of the court and do something. I can still do that – it’s just that the other offenses, I didn’t need to do that. I didn’t need to do that in Phil (Jackson’s) system and I didn’t need to do it in Pat (Riley’s) system. If I know I’m going to get that thing, I’m running.

“The way the Knicks play, he can get five to six easy buckets. That’s 10 points right there. And if Mike sees him working hard he’ll say, ‘Okay, he’s working hard – let me post him up a couple of times.’ That’s another 10 points and there you go, you have a nice big man average, 20 and 10.”

O’Neal added that he is rooting for Curry and hopes that he can salvage his future, either in New York or somewhere else.

“I want to see him get up against the big names. If you want to be somebody you’ve got to kill everybody. When I was young it took me a while to get up for everybody. When you’re an okay center that’s trying to be good you got to get up for everybody every night.”

An early contender for quote of the week is the following snippet from the Oregonian’s John Canzano, who finds himself somewhat less than blown away by news of former Blazer Darius Miles signing a ten day contract with the Grizzlies.

First Memphis took Bonzi, now Rev. Head Bop. What’s next? Ruben Patterson stopping by the Beale Street precinct to join the sex-offender registry?