New York Knicks Preseason Opener: Derrick Rose Playing, KP At Center?
Mike DiNovo-USATSI

The New York Knicks open the preseason on Tuesday. Derrick Rose will make his debut, and injury may move Kristaps Porzingis to center.

The New York Knicks open the preseason on Tuesday on the road against the Rockets. Derrick Rose is trending due to his legal situation, but an injury to Joakim Noah provides actual evidence to the hotly debated topic of Kristaps Porzingis at center.

Tuesday is also day one of Rose’s rape trial in Los Angeles. According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the point guard will play in Houston tonight and fly to LA for the trial tomorrow.

Rose’s debut brings baggage, but the 28-year-old is clearly not worried about public perception. He told the New York Daily News, “I wanted to take it to court” because “I didn’t want to settle.”

Rose will be on the court tonight, but it’s looking more and more likely that Joakim Noah will not. Per Bondy, Noah didn’t practice with the team yesterday due to a sore hamstring.

It was shoulder problems that limited Noah to 29 games last season, but it still concerns to see him with any injury this early. For right now, though, the Knicks can look at this as an opportunity.

The Knicks are weak at center and meaningless preseason games are a good time for experimenting with lineups. Tuesday’s action would be as good a time as any for head coach Jeff Hornacek to try out Kristaps Porzingis at center.

The sophomore big man’s status at the five has been a subject of much debate among fans.

According to Nylon Calculus, 25.7% of Porzingis’ playing time during his rookie season came while he was at center. He scored more from the five spot (19.2 points per game) than he did as a power forward (17.7 ppg), albeit in a much smaller sample size but the potential was there.

His Defense was a problem, however. KP got routinely cooked by bigger centers, and it wasn’t worth the trouble. Preseason is the time to test whether or not he’s improved enough to take on the task in 2016-17.

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