With the training wheels off from the preseason, the New York Knicks looked to show they’re more than just the floor mat of the Eastern Conference. The Knicks not only got their first win this week, but they also beat the defending Eastern Conference champions. These wins may mean nothing as the whole season plays out. For right now however, being a Knicks fan isn’t the worst thing in the world.
New York Knicks Weekly Recap: Two Dominant Wins
The Record: 2-3
The MVP: Kristaps Porzingis
If Porzingis keeps up playing at this level, it may be hard to pick another player for MVP the rest of the season. He had a subpar game against the Boston Celtics, but showed his resilience and he redeemed himself, reaching 30 points in the next two games. Not only that, but Porzingis is providing the Knicks with that consistent scoring presence. He isn’t just making his points on easy buckets. A lot of his scoring is contributing to long scoring runs from his team, or stopping the opposing team from going on long scoring runs.
Players to Watch
Although he isn’t scoring much, Ntilikina is showing how valuable he can be on the defensive end on the floor. Frank played his most minutes all season against the Nets and Cavs, two games the Knicks won, this isn’t a coincidence. He has played meaningful minutes this week and it seems as if his defensive play is contagious. Aside from his defense, he has shown great court vision and has made some impressive passes that have led to easy buckets. This top pick was met with criticism and skepticism by fans and analysts alike as he was taken over other well known players like Malik Monk and Dennis Smith Jr.. The season’s still early, but it seems like Ntilikina has the potential to develop into the two way player the Knicks had hoped a would be, as long as he stays healthy.
The veteran two guard is showing he’s probably one of the more under the radar players in the league. He is a constant 3 point threat and last week he shot 50 percent from the field and 47 percent from three point range. In the latest win against the Cavs he grabbed ten rebounds showing he can be more than just a shooter.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Last weeks least valuable player, and it seemed to be trending in that direction until Sunday’s win against Cleveland. Before Sunday, Tim hadn’t made more than 4 field goals in any of his previous games. Tim exploded Sunday night for 34 points while also racking up eight assists. The eight assists shows he wasn’t just jacking up shots the whole game, he’s helping his teammates make plays. Now we all know that Tim isn’t gonna be averaging 34 points for the rest of the season. He doesn’t need to. This was a good sign though, he is beginning to come out of his scoring funk. If he can pick his shots wisely, it will be hard for opposing teams to double Porzingis and leave Tim open. If he can average half of what he scored on Sunday then the Knicks will be getting their money’s worth from his contract.
It’s wise not to get carried away with how the Knicks played this week. It’s a good stepping stone for this team to build from. They play the Nuggets on Monday night and it will be another good test to see what they can do. Even if this team wins six straight they need to play every game like they’re without a win. If Frank Ntilikina can keep developing, he adds a whole new dimension to this team. They have talent, but in order for them to be a successful team, things need to break their way and players can’t take nights off.
23 December 2015: New York Knicks Forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) looks to pass during the game between the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Oh. (Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)