After four weeks of NBA action in the books, the New York Knicks continued to improve their winning record after a winless first week. The team got their first taste of what a lineup without Kristaps Porzingis is like. The Knicks also showed no lead is safe against them, overcoming a large deficit two games in a row. In this Knicks weekly recap, we’ll be looking at the major contributors and moments in this past week.
New York Knicks Weekly Recap: Mr. 300
Record: 7-5 – 6th in the Eastern Conference
The MVP: Kristaps Porzingis
Porzingis shows every week how important he is to this teams success. To this point in the season, he is averaging 30.4 points per game. Porzingis tallied his eighth 30 point game of the season in Saturday’s blowout win to the Sacramento Kings. He also broke his first of what looks to be many Knick records. Porzingis broke the scoring record for a Knick player in his first ten games of the season with 300 points. He passed Knicks legend Bernard King who previously held the record with 298 points through ten games.
Some alarming news about Porzingis came early this week. He told reporters he may need to have offseason surgery on his elbow after injuring it against the Charlotte Hornets. Porzingis downplayed the seriousness of the injury, saying as long as it’s taken care of in between games he will be fine, however offseaosn surgery is a possibility. Porzingis sat out Wednesday night when the Knicks played the Orlando Magic. This was the second game of a back to back on the schedule.
The New Knicks
Many fans questioned the whether Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott, the main pieces in the Carmelo Anthony trade were enough. So far both players are fitting in perfectly into the Knicks rotation. Kanter, being the starting center for the team, and McDermott being apart of the second unit. McDermott is averaging 22.2 minutes in 12 games this season. He is shooting 54 percent from the field and 44 percent from three point range. McDermott has been bounced around since being drafted by the Chicago Bulls. Perhaps he has found a home in New York. He seemed to be an after thought in the trade, but is playing important minutes. Kanter is proving to be the ideal post player. He’s averaging a double double, and shooting 67 percent from the field.
Players to Watch
Frank Nitilikina continues to show his defensive importance more and more for these Knicks. His pass first mentality is contagious and helps space the floor. Sometimes Nitilikina can be too passive to a fault. In the Knicks blow out against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, Nitilikina had plenty of chances to attack the basket. Instead he finished the night only taking 2 shots. He needs to learn where to pick and choose his shot, especially when he has the best look at the basket.
Damyean Dotson hasn’t played much this season. When given the minutes however, he’s showed he can be a big time piece. In Saturday’s win against the Kings, Dotson played 14 minutes. Even though this was garbage time, Dotson scored 14 points shooting six for nine from the field. For the month of November, Dotson averaged 71 percent from the field in 33 minutes. Dotson isn’t wasting any of his opportunities. He averaged 17.4 points in his last season at Houston. He may be a diamond in the rough as he was a late pick in the 2017 draft.
The Return of Joakim Noah
Joakim Noah returns to the Knicks roster after being suspended for 80 games for PED use. The suspension dated back to last season. Noah had an injured left knee at the time of the news, so the suspension didn’t begin until he was fully healthy. Noah averaged five points and 8.8 rebounds in 46 games last year. His role with the team remains in limbo after the teams early success without him. In order to make room for Noah on the roster, the Knicks waived European forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas. He had become a fan favorite last year, wasn’t able to break into the Knicks rotation this year. Kuzminskas only played one game this year, picking up two minutes of playing time in a blowout loss to the Magic.
LeBron James stated in an interview Saturday night, that the Knicks mad a mistake passing on rookie Dennis Smith Jr. in the draft. Smith was taken ninth overall after the Knicks picked Frank Nitilikina over him. Many players on the Knicks came to Nitilikina’s defense, saying they were happy having him on the team. Kanter took these comments to heart especially, sub tweeting LeBron on twitter. The Knicks play the Cavaliers Monday nightand it will be interesting to see how they react as a team. Nitilikina and Smith are having two very different seasons. It’s hard to compare these players however because their situations on their teams are completely different. Dennis Smith Jr. is the focal point in the offense, while Frank Nitilikina was brought in for defense in a team that has plenty of scorers. It’s too early to rate these players based on talent. If the Knicks can steal another win from the Cavs though, they’ll get the last laugh.
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