Raise your hand if you saw this coming! The New York Knickerbockers are 14-11 through their first 25 games.
Not only that, they are actually playing well on the road, which is where they find themselves now. Look, I realize this season is still very young, but as of this writing, the Knicks are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They are ahead of teams like the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, etc. So, how is this happening you ask? Here are but a few suggestions.
I’ll get right to the point, actually, the point guard! When Phil Jackson traded for Derrick Rose, the question wasn’t whether he still had talent, it was could he stay healthy enough to contribute on a game in, game out basis? Well, we certainly have the answer to that, and it is an affirmative!
Photo: The Inquisitr
D-Rose has nicely slotted in as the third scorer in Gotham City and has looked rather impressive in doing so. I’m not sure head coach, Jeff Hornacek could have asked for any more than he is getting (16.4 ppg, 4.4 apg, 4.0 rpg in 31.0 mpg). Now if he can just get past the back spasms that have been plaguing him recently, the feel-good story will continue. Not to be overlooked in this equation was the signing of Brandon Jennings as Rose’s backup. Don’t forget that for his first six seasons in the NBA, Jennings was a starter who averaged no less than 15.5 ppg. All of this means now that when Rose goes to the bench, New York is still in quite capable hands. As any basketball aficionado knows, you simply cannot run good offense in any league without strong point guard play. So far this season, the Knicks have received just that.
KP is okay with me! The maturation of second-year big man, Kristaps Porzingis is right on course. Watching the 21-year-old move around the court as well as he does, I sometimes forget that he is 7’3″, and weighs 240 pounds. The skill he possesses for someone that size is truly remarkable. A dual inside/outside threat, the #4 pick in last season’s draft is playing seven more minutes and averaging six more points per game then he did a season ago.
Photo: The Sporting News
KP is New York’s second leading scorer (20.6 ppg.) and rebounder (7.7 rpg.), and its leading shot blocker (1.9 bpg.). Needless to say, he is becoming a well-balanced stat sheet stuffer. Tuesday night in Phoenix provided yet a nether glimpse of just how good he can/will be, as he went for 34, 8, and 3. The sky it would seem is the limit for this young man.
No good team can get to where it wants to go without at least a few solid complementary/role players, and this Knicks team actually has a few. Let’s start with Kyle O’ Quinn, who tallied a season-high 22 points to go along with a team-high 14 rebounds, in the overtime loss in Phoenix Tuesday. For the season, the 6’10”, 250 pound Queens native, is averaging 6.5 ppg. and 5.5 rpg. These numbers are both a lot better than last years, as he seems to have fully settled in with his hometown team.
Quite frankly, O’Quinn’s ability to do the dirty work around the basket (like out scrap folks for offensive rebounds) enables Porzingis, Rose, and Carmelo Anthony, to do what they do. He is not the only one however, guys like Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Willy Hernangomez, and Justin Holiday have all had their moments too
Notice I have not featured Anthony too prominently anywhere above? That is not to say he is not a key part of all of this. He most certainly is, and if he can learn to trust his other big time teammates more, the good ship New York Knicks should continue to sail into the winners circle much more often than it has in recent memory.
And that is My 2 Sense for this week.