Billy and Kuz

Willy Hernangomez and Mindaugas Kuzminskas were expected to be fringe rotation players at best. The expectations were low for KP’s buddy and the guy with the weird name. After seeing them play we know how valuable they are to the franchise. If not to the future then at least as trade chips.

Hernangomez has proven to be a weapon in the paint on both ends of the court. He’s in the 89th percentile (1.29 points per possession) of roll man efficiency, and he’s also been a solid rim protector.

Willy showed off those skills on Monday night against the Pacers. Check out these videos of Hernangomez diving right to the rim for an easy dunk and blocking a layup.

Kuzminskas is the older of the two but is more of a wild card. His per 36 minutes stats are wild. Kuz started three games, and his scoring average jumped to 12.3 points in those 28.2 minutes per game. It’s that defense that is keeping his minutes more on the sporadic side.

New York is already a terrible defensive team, so they can’t afford another liability on that end. There’s more to like about Kuz than not to like. We didn’t have any idea what he would be, and now we know he’s a three-point bomber.

Despite being a little-used bench player for a majority of the season, Kuzminskas still managed to put up 96 shots from beyond the arc in 38 appearances. He’s making them at a 36.5 percent clip so why stop?

I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.