The 2016-17 NBA season has been a rough one for the New York Knicks. They’re 22-29 on the year, they’ve been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, and now star forward Carmelo Anthony could be on his way out of the big apple via trade; however, despite the number of things that have gone south, there have been two key facets of this Knicks team that have been successful. Those facets would be the growth of Kristaps Porzingis and the emergence of rookie center Willy Hernangomez. Both players serve as building blocks for the Knicks future.
Kristaps Porzingis’ Growth Brightening Knicks Future
After a good 2015-16 campaign, Kristaps Porzingis is having a very good sophomore year. He’s averaging just under 19 points a game and is shooting more efficiently than he did his freshman year; shooting 45.2% from the field, and 37.9% from three, both are improvements off his rookie season. When you put the stats to the side, Porzingis is a unique player.
Porzingis can play out on the perimeter, is a high flyer, and is a defensive presence. It’s rare to see a big man with his skill set, but Porzingis can improve. While he’s without a doubt an asset for this Knicks team going forward, Porzingis struggles to create his own shot. He can shoot over anybody but struggles when he gets doubled teamed. He also doesn’t yet have a reliable a post game.
When you put it all together, Porzingis has a long way to go if he wants to become a star in this league, but you can’t take away the skills he does possess. Considering his current skill set, and the different facets that he may improve in, Porzingis is a building block for this team going forward, as is center Willy Hernangomez.
The Emergence Of Willy Hernangomez
The Knicks drafted center Willy Hernangomez in the 2015 NBA draft, but Hernangomez didn’t come play for the Knicks in the 2015-16 season. He wanted to play overseas for one more year, and then come to the NBA a year later; it was a move for the better.
When the 2016-17 season began, it took Hernangomez a little while to get into the swing of things, but with February just now beginning, Hernangomez has found himself. He hits the boards, is a tough defender, but he’s also a post-up big man. He’s also posted three double-doubles in the Knicks last six games and has also recorded double-digit rebounds in four of the Knicks last six games. To see a young center develop a post game so early in his career, let alone develop one in a league where the typical NBA big man has gone extinct, is very unique.
In addition to his unique skill set, Hernangomez presents an interesting dilemma for the Knicks.
Hernangomez May Force The Knicks To Go Big
While starting Porzingis and Hernangomez side by side long term seems like a no-brainer, it’s actually an interesting dilemma for the Knicks.
Currently, team president Phil Jackson is trying to trade franchise forward Carmelo Anthony so he can begin building around Kristaps Porzingis. If Jackson could execute such a deal, it seems as if Porzingis would move to the center position, and the Knicks would go small on their frontline; however, the emergence of Hernangomez may halt the movement of Porzingis to center.
Hernangomez has been playing very well lately, and to the point where he may find himself as the Knicks starting center. If he can maintain that spot for the long haul, then Porzingis would remain at the power forward position. It could be a move for the better, and one that could possibly lead the Knicks to target a small forward in the draft (Miles Bridges?) and a point guard in free agency (Jrue Holiday? Jeff Teague?). If the Knicks start Hernangomez at center, then they have some interesting options at their disposal.
Porzingis And Hernangomez Are Building Blocks For the Knicks
The New York Knicks are on the brink of blowing up their roster by trading Carmelo Anthony and maybe even point guard Derrick Rose. If and when they proceed with that order, the Knicks will begin to build themselves around the Latvian sensation, forward Kristaps Porzingis and center Willy Hernangomez. Both big men serve as building blocks for the Knicks future.