At first it was Derrick Rose with his “superteam” declaration, which resulted in quite a few jokes at his and the New York Knicks expense. Now it’s Kristaps Porzingis, with his enthusiasm over playing next to Joakim Noah.
Porzingis is coming off a good rookie season, in which he presented the potential to become a very good NBA scorer, which well help Carmelo Anthony slowly age without having to feel the constant pressure to be the only offensive outlet on this team. The Knicks made more changes this offseason to try and break their playoff drought, adding Derrick Rose via trade from the Chicago Bulls, and in free agency signed Noah, who was Rose’s teammate in Chicago.
Porzingis is quite excited about playing next to Noah, a defensive-oriented center who has excellent vision, poor shooting, and mainly is trying to come off a season in which he was both benched and missed most of it anyway with injury, to show that the contract he was given (four years, $72 million) makes sense, and that he’s still one of the best defensive players in the NBA. Noah won the DPOY award in 2014.
Kristaps Porzingis first met a shirtless Joakim Noah in the training room: “I was like, ‘Oh man, you’ve been working out.'”
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) September 17, 2016
The Knicks don’t look like title contenders, but unlike the forgiving nature of last season from the media and the fans, after three seasons of missing the playoffs, the Knicks and Phil Jackson are running out of excuses. This team might not be in a position to win an NBA title, but it has the pieces to be in the East’s top 8, even if the coaching carousel and instability, now with Jeff Hornacek trying to overcome his ending in Phoenix, hasn’t been helping.
The Rose situation has gotten more complicated as well. This isn’t just a bounce back season for him anymore. His off court problems due to rape allegations seem a lot more serious than initially thought. Jackson admitted that he really didn’t pay the case as much attention as he probably should. Analysis from sports writers and fans rarely tells the true picture of the legal situation, but there’s a good chance both Rose and the Knicks will have to worry about a lot more than him being an efficient shooter this season.
But just assuming the Rose situation works itself out in a positive manner (which means Rose doesn’t go to prison), the Knicks have reasons to be optimistic about the 2016-2017 NBA season. Anthony might not be able to get himself a championship ring like his friends Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, but for someone who didn’t miss the postseason in his first 10 NBA seasons, it’s probably time to end this annoying drought, and show that this team is headed in a somewhat positive direction.