Bright Future: Knicks’ Young Talent Shines Against Bucks
It’s no secret that the New York Knicks have been off to a rough start. Only securing six victories thus far, the team has quickly found themselves at the bottom of the East. This is in part due to the injury to the team’s star, Kristaps Porzingis. Without Porzingis, it’s been difficult for the team to find another consistent scorer aside from Tim Hardaway Jr. The other side of the issue is that the output of some of the team’s players has been below what has been expected. However, fans got a taste of just how good their young stars can be when New York faced the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.
Taking the Bucks by the Horns
In an overtime duel to the end, the Knicks managed to hold off the Bucks. The game came to an explosive end with New York winning it 136 to 134. That victory could not have happened without the hard work of Kevin Knox and Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay had the hot hand from three, shooting 80% from deep to have 28 points for the game. However, it was Kevin Knox who stole the show with 26 points off the bench. He also shot the ball well, hitting 41% of his shots from the three point line and 45% from the field. Knox’s teammates and coach had nothing but high praise for the young swingman, alluding to the fact that fans can expect more of this kind of performance. However, the performances of both players are indicative of a promising road ahead.
Testing the Waters
Right now, the Knicks are not looking like the team to beat by any standard. They are not far enough from the bottom of the conference to feel comfortable. However, both the victory on Sunday and the play of Knox and Mudiay is great news for the team. The game showed that both players have the potential to go off any given night. Moreover, this puts the team in a more positive light when it comes to the free agency.
The Knicks are still presumably looking to make free agency moves in the summer of 2019. Stars, such as Kevin Durant, have been rumored to consider the Knicks. What will turn that rumor into truth is more of this kind of play by the young stars. Big name players do not want to come to a team that has no winning prospects. To be competitive in the free agency, the Knicks need to start looking like a team that could potentially be a contender in the future. New York, for the most part, has failed to show that this season. However, getting big performances from young talent changes that narrative.
Consider the Unicorn
It can’t be overstated that Kristaps Porzingis will be returning to the court. As good as he is, he is just one man. To make the transition back to basketball as smooth as possible, Porzingis will need to rely on his teammates. This is particularly true when it comes to the scoring load. It would be ridiculous to expect Porzingis to put up more than 30 points a game fresh off injury. The poor play of the Knicks thus far has made that seem like the only option if the Knicks want a shot at the playoff.
However, if Porzingis only has to put up 15 to 20 points a game, than he won’t be over exerting himself at the risk of re-injury. That would be a more promising alternative and can only happen if the Knicks can come up with other scoring options. If Sunday showed anything, it’s that that Knox and Mudiay can be those options. At the bottom line, basketball is a team sport and the Knicks won on Sunday because they played as a team. If the team can continue to do so once Porzingis returns, then the Knicks could have a lot more wins in their future.
Kevin Knox has a good distance to go before he can be the number one option on this team. Emmanuel Mudiay still has a lot to learn before he is a top tier point guard. However, these players don’t have to worry about that right now. All they have to worry is about is playing solid basketball like they did on Saturday night. That doesn’t necessarily entail scoring nearly 30 points a game, but it does mean coming out and making the most out of every minutes on a nightly basis. If the Knicks can continue to put out this kind of effort, there may be hope for this team yet.
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