Hey Knicks fans, the All-Star Game reserves were announced this week and KP, Kristaps Porzingis, has made his first ASG roster. The 7-3 bean pole from Latvia is well deserving of his spot, having authored an excellent start to his third full season in the NBA. So good was he out of the gates, that the Madison Square Garden faithful would chant MVP whenever he would touch the rock. For a time, the “Unicorn” ranked among the league’s top 3 in points per game, but at 23.2 ppg, now sits at #15. There is no doubt that with the trade of Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks are KP’s team.
He has embraced the challenge of being “the man” for the most part, but being “the man” also means answering the bell each and every night, isn’t that right Walt “Clyde” Frazier?
“He’s on the threshold of greatness, but you got to go against the Warriors, man. We’ve played against some elite teams this year, and he hasn’t been ready to play. You can’t be injured against those type of teams. Like the team needs him. You’re an All-Star, you’ve just been voted to the All-Star team, man, come on, go out and show the Warriors why.”
These were Clyde’s quotes when he found out that Porzingis would not be playing against the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night. The reason given for why he was held out was “left knee irritation”. What? Although his knee has been a sore spot this season, KP has missed PT because he’s been: “really tired and fatigued” too. Lo and behold, he was back in the lineup Thursday night in Denver (21 points in 27 minutes) as NY fell 130-118 to the Nuggets, and again Friday night’s big win in Phoenix (19 points and 7 boards in 28 minutes). Heavy is the head that wears the crown, so it bears watching just how much watching the Unicorn does in civilian clothes from the bench the rest of this season. To date, the 22 year-old has played in 43 of 50 games thus far.
Remember Trey…Yeah, He Can Play
Lost in the Knicks loss to the Nuggets Thursday night was the fact that they had a young point guard score 18 points (8-12 from the floor), and dish out 11 assists. What might come as a surprise though was that the author of the double-double was not Frank Ntilikina. Trey Burke came off the bench and completed the task in 29 very impressive minutes. A day later, in the Knicks 107-85 blowout win over the Suns, Burke managed to squeeze off 14 shots in 18 more impressive minutes, connecting on 8, for another 18 point night. Once again Frank Ntilikina watched all of this from the bench.Who is Trey Burke you ask? He is the 25 year-old former #9 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, who as a rookie for the Utah Jazz averaged 13 points and 6 assists. Over his four year career the former Michigan Wolverine has averaged 11 points. Can the recently signed Westchester Knick, coming off being named G League player of the month of December, carve out a meaningful role here? It might be tough because the team drafted Ntilikina to be their point guard of the future, and it would seem they are going to give him the keys to the car more often. But, with more nights like Thursday and Friday, and any coach would be smart to ride the hot hand. What does all this mean for the veteran, Jarrett Jack as well? We shall see.
Photo: New York Post
Ever since signing his 4 year $72 million contract with the Knicks in July of 2016, Joakim has been a bad dream for the team. From knee and torn rotator cuff surgeries, to being suspended 20 games without pay for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, this marriage has been a disaster. This season, Joakim has basically been cemented to the bench. He has only appeared in seven games and played less than six minutes in each of them. Well, now comes word that following a short stint on the floor against Golden State Tuesday night (despite the fact that KP and Kyle O’Quinn were out), Noah is “pissed”, and has left the team indefinitely for “personal reasons”. Really guy? I have one bit of advice for Joakim; cue Motley Crew please:
Feature photo: CBS New York