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Toney Douglas hoping to spark the Knicks

Jaime C. Harris | 4/12/2011, 5:28 p.m.

The Knicks are hopeful that this season, which began for them on Wednesday in Toronto versus the Raptors and will move on to Boston tomorrow when they meet the Celtics, will be the start of a long, fruitful run after many years of futility.

Team president Donnie Walsh has overhauled the team's roster and only five players return from the 2009-10 squad that went 29-53. Of those five, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Toney Douglas are expected to be impact players.

And while Gallinari and Chandler are in their third and fourth season's respectively in the NBA, it is Douglas, with only one full season of experienced on his resume, who carries more swagger than his more weathered teammates.

Granted, at 24-years-old, the Atlanta native is two years older than Gallinari and only one year younger than Chandler. Nevertheless, Douglas exudes unwavering self-confidence that served him well in his rookie campaign when he earned 12 starts in 56 games played and a larger role for the foreseeable future after demonstrating the capability to man both the point and shooting guard positions.

"Having the opportunity to play a lot last year was really important for me because I was able to {learn} what my strengths and weaknesses were," said Douglas sitting at his locker after the Knicks' final preseason game at Madison Square Garden, a 117-111 win over the Nets.

Douglas anticipates he and Raymond Felton, the Knicks' starting point guard and one of 10 new Knicks who populate the roster, will coalesce into a tandem that will cause trouble for opposing backcourts both offensively and defensively.

"We definitely think we can create mismatches for other guards because of our speed and quickness," the 6-1 Douglas reasoned. "People may look at us say we're small, but we don't think that it will be that much of a factor if we're pushing the pace of the game."

The six-foot Felton agrees with Douglas's premise that size, or a lack of, for the most part will be immaterial.

"We're not worry about that at all," said the engaging Felton.

"Our defensive pressure on the ball will lead to turnovers and easy baskets, and when you can create offense off of defensive pressure it forces teams to make adjustments, which is what you want to do."