Playing Paschoalotto/Bauru, a Brazilian team, to open the season means the New York Knicks winning 100-81 doesn’t mean much, even if Carmelo Anthony did look good and Kristaps Porzingis provided a few moments of impressive shot blocking and promise.
Some games are like this. Bauru might be the FIBA Americas champions, but they’re no indication to what an NBA team would be like, especially in the preseason. The Knicks needed time to get going, but took over the game in the second quarter with a 36-19 period, and didn’t look back.
Carmelo Anthony led the team with 17 points in 20 minutes, having no trouble getting himself in comfortable positions against players who can’t really contend with his size and skills. Kyle O’Quinn, who the Knicks count on to provide a lot of energy off the bench, looked good with 14 points and Kevin Seraphin, who was chased by a lot of teams this offseason, added 14 points as well, although no one is counting on his offense to play a major factor this season.
Of the intriguing new arrivals, Arron Afflalo was the only one who didn’t play, still suffering from a minor groin injury. Robin Lopez scored 6 points in 16 minutes, Sasha Vujacic scored 9 points in 20 minutes although without a single 3-pointer and Derrick Williams added 6 points off the bench.
Besides Anthony, the player most were interested in was Porzingis, who finished with 7 points, 2 rebounds and a block. He has an interesting way of blocking players, but his timing on defense is good and although he still is quite raw and is going to need time to become a consistent threat offensively from what we’ve seen, the Knicks have someone who should be on the right path to be a meaningful player for them, and maybe even more.
A more NBA ready kind of rookie is Jerian Grant, who scored 8 points but was shooting just 3-of-10 from the field. Grant is going to battle Langston Galloway for minutes behind Jose Calderon, and if he can make his game about more than just individual scoring and just shooting, he has a good chance of establishing a firm place in the rotation.