New York Knicks News Mix 1/24/18
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Kristaps Porzingis stuck up for his recently benched buddy Willy Hernangomez saying that he thinks Hernangomez deserves to play.

The New York Knicks were rife with dysfunction last season. The two guys at the center—Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony—of the controversy are now gone, and the new regime is hoping to move on. Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez are part of that.

The unicorn addressed the media Sunday about Willy’s lack of playing time so far this season. Porzingis is the new leader of the squad, so he stuck up for his longtime friend and teammate when asked if Hernangomez deserved to play.

Via Marc Berman of The New York Post:

“I think so. He deserves it. But we have a lot of big guys on the floor, and I understand everybody’s fighting for those minutes. And not everybody is going to get what they deserve.”

This shouldn’t be blown out of proportion. It’s not Porzingis calling out his coach, but a new leader praising one of his teammates. If anything, it should earn him respect in the locker room.

Per Berman, Jeff Hornacek stated that due to the play of Kyle O’Quinn and Enes Kanter in the first two games the coach didn’t know if Willy’s status would change for Tuesday against Boston. That doesn’t sound good for all the Hernangomez fans.

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.