It’s finally coming to the point where we can all claim that the New York Knicks are a real basketball team in 2015-16 of the Eastern Conference.
By Robby Sabo
At some point on Friday night – most likely after witnessing a 93-90 victory over Russell Westbrook and the dangerous Oklahoma City Thunder – you sat in your living room with a dropped jaw.
These New York Knicks might just be for real.
It’s a statement that hasn’t entered our world in many years. Decades, actually. Since 2001 only the 2012-13 Knicks, who won 54 games, could claim true contender status.
It’s more than just the three straight victories and an overall record of 7-6 (which plays better in the weak Eastern Conference). The sudden promise of a bright future is what’s cementing the “for real” statement.
Of course, there’s Kristaps Porzingis.
The 20-year old Latvian sensation, who was snagged by Phil Jackson as the No. 4 overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft, has immediately changed everything.
Everything in the sense that we now understand the Knicks can get this thing done. They can hire the right guy to run the organization in Phil Jackson. They can pick the right guy with a top five selection. They can turn this thing around.
They can even get a little lucky. Who would have thought Porzingis would’ve been this good, this early? Not even Phil.
This is how the NBA operates. That’s all it takes for the entire forecast of a team to alter 180 degrees – just one player.
In actuality, having the promise of a special player like Kristaps Porzingis is the only thing that matters in this league. Toiling in mediocrity only forces your franchise to die a slow death. Jackson knew this, and did the only sensible thing he could do for the Knicks by tanking it a season ago.
Anybody arguing the opposite just doesn’t understand how the NBA operates. Without a doubt, it is the most difficult league to turn things around. The strong usually get stronger while the weak stay pathetic.
Moreover, pairing the rookie with Carmelo Anthony changes everything even further, especially for Melo himself. And despite Phil not landing one of the big fish of the free agent market this past summer, we now know how nicely he’s filled in his role pieces around his newly-formed “Big Two.”
Robin Lopez is a perfect compliment to the stretch-four that is Porzingis. He cleans up the garbage off the rim and does the dirty work every winning squad needs.
Arron Afflalo, despite missing the first eight games, has provided secondary scoring in a very efficient fashion (12 PPG).
It doesn’t even matter New York almost squandered a 16-point lead to the Thunder on Friday night.
“Just reminding the guys that the end result is just figuring out a way to win, regardless of how it looks,” Fisher said. “We will keep working at cleaning things up and trying to finish it better,” via AP.
The only thing that matters is the win in a weak Eastern Conference. A conference that possesses LeBron James and very little else.
Whether they flourish as the season goes along and find a way to amazingly contend in 2016 remains to be seen. Whatever they do now, however, is gravy.
This team is for real, and the future is bright. In this league that’s the only thing that matters.
[su_button url=”https://elitesportsny.com/2015/11/18/stephen-a-smittaps-porzingis/” target=”blank” background=”#000080″ size=”10″ wide=”yes” radius=”0″]NEXT: Stephen A. Smith Changes Tune On Porzingis[/su_button]