Given their already existent payroll and whatnot, the Knicks' core group is already set. Any and all surprise contributors will emerge within the coming weeks from the handful of training camp invitees currently fighting to prove their worth.
Clearly, New York has had success experimenting with similar options in recent seasons. Everyone knows Jeremy Lin was truly one of a kind, but what about Chris Copeland? In many ways (albeit it, not in as many remarkable ways as the former), perhaps he was one of a kind, with regard to his respective background, as well.
This season, the Knicks are employing the likes of Ike Diogu and Josh Powell (at least) through training camp. Each big man is 30 years old, and has thus far, failed to stick in the NBA over the years.
That's a different scenario than the one Copeland emerged from. An international journeyman, he came out of obscurity. He was an NBA "Rookie of the Month" award recipient at the age of 29. His success was impressive and his work ethic through the years is admirable, making Copeland an easy guy to root for. It's exciting to watch "new" talent flourish with quite a story like that.
In the process of making a name for himself, Copeland's outbreak seemingly also provided some credibility to certain international leagues across the world, as well as the NBA D-League. He graced all those hardwoods over the years, and probably became a better man and player for it.
Copeland's story is inspiring. There's no doubt about that. His success is good for basketball in many different ways, but there's a certain negative concept that comes along with it as well: now everyone else at a similar point in their respective careers believes they can do it too.
Newsflash: there's probably a reason Copeland (has) made it, and they didn't or haven't yet.
The newest Pacer is certainly a testament to some worthwhile previously undiscovered talent. There's no doubt about that. Still, it's somewhat discouraging to see other players marketing themselves similarly to Copeland just because he made it the way he did. Everyone should have their own story, and/or their own way to break into the NBA. Riding a player like Copeland's coattails and using his success as justification for another team giving a new/different player a chance next isn't necessarily the best way to go about it.