While it’s highly unlikely the New York Knicks continue to play the keep them hovering around .500, their faith in the abilities of Kristaps Porzingis to lead them has undoubtedly been proven to be a very wise decision.
Porzingis scored 37 points as the Knicks routed the lowly Phoenix Suns 120-107, raising his average to 29 points. He’s not even shooting that well from three this season – he’s just plain unstoppable pretty much anywhere on the floor.
His block, followed up by a smashing dunk in the fourth quarter put the exclamation point on his and the Knicks performance. A team many thought would be tanking might end up heading in that direction, but for now, the Latvian prodigy and his rag-tag conglomerate of teammates is making basketball look like fun for the first time in a while in the Big Apple.
Maybe the Knicks have a working long-term plan, finally. The previous one, which included Carmelo Anthony, made no sense. And the Knicks finally got rid of Anthony, who only once got them past the first round of the playoffs and didn’t help them make it in the last four seasons, believing that Porzingis, after two years of seeing him develop, is the real deal.
There’s a bit more to Porzingis on this team: Tim Hardaway Jr. has returned to show how much he has developed, averaging 16.3 points per game, adding 21 against the Suns. Enes Kanter might be one huge defensive hole, but he can always score, averaging 14 a night, while adding 16 with 15 rebounds against Phoenix. Courtney Lee is the only other player averaging double figures for the Knicks this season, and a rare specimen who plays good defense.
Porzingis has another season after this one before it’s time for him to show his intentions. He wasn’t happy under Jackson, at least in the second season. It’ll take more than just fun basketball, but for the Knicks to show they know what they’re doing while building a contender around him, for Porzingis to sign a long term deal. If he plays hard ball and goes for the RFA tender, which means just a one year deal, the Knicks will probably go rebuilding again, extending their era of misery under James Dolan.
The 4-4 New York Knicks play a streaking Indiana Pacers team next. The Knicks are playing five of their next six games at home.