The Knicks’ Preseason Debut and Follow Up
The New York Knicks played two preseason games this week against the Brooklyn Nets and the Washington Wizards, respectively. Both games resulted in losses for New York, but were not blowouts by any stretch of the imagination. It is still pretty early to be buying into the “hopeless” ads that have sprang up against the team. Even still the team has some learning to do before the regular season starts.
Going into both games, pressure was on Kristaps Porzingis as the new face of the team. Although he sat out against the Wizards, he was present against the Nets on both ends of the floor. Going into the season the Knicks are going to look to utilize him more and they can reasonably expect to. With Carmelo Anthony gone, Porzingis will be able to get more looks at the basket and take advantage of his length over shorter forwards.
Sharing the pressure with him is Frank Ntilikina and Tim Hardaway Jr. In these last two games Tim Hardaway Jr. played relatively well, averaging 16 points. Ntilikina looked like he was still adjusting to playing with the team. He sat out against the Wizards along with Porzingis, but during the game against the Nets he added only five points and three assists. It’s still early, but as he grows more comfortable with the team the expectations for the young point guard will inevitably grow.
While great play was expected from the young stars of the team, the great play from both Enes Kanter and Michael Beasley was completely unexpected. Both players obviously are trying to earn starting roles by the time the season starts and both made relatively good cases for themselves, especially Kanter. The former Thunder power forward ended up leading the team in points for both games. The rest of team played relatively well grabbing a vast number of rebounds and staying relatively in the game offensively. The vast turnover number from the second game shows that the team still has its work cut out before they can be a real contender. The new look Knicks have a lot of new faces and there is clearly still a huge need for improved chemistry. With any luck the team will pull it together far in advance of All-Star weekend and really make a name for themselves in the East.
On Sunday night the Knicks have a rematch with the Brooklyn Nets followed by a game against the Houston Rockets on Monday night. It’s a lot to ask for them to figure everything out in such a short space of time. Even still fans in the Big Apple are going to have all eyes on their team, hoping that this new roster will be more successful for them then in years prior.