Not sure if you’re an NBA history buff, but last February, the New York Knicks traded All-Star Kristaps Porzingis for the necessary cap space to sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, then didn’t get a meeting with either of those two in the offseason, opting to settle for four average power forwards with stupid contracts.
Looking to avoid their worst start since 2009-10, the Knicks, now 2-9, will host Porzingis and his new Dallas team at Madison Square Garden on Thursday; it’s the first time back for KP since last February’s deal.
And, truth is, neither side of the breakup is doing so well. The Knicks, of course, suck, and, of course, always will, so that’s not surprising, but Porzingis’ return from the ACL tear he suffered in February of 2018 has been confounding.
But, speaking on court, in nine games this season:
18.3 points on 40.1 percent shooting, 7.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists
Those aren’t max-level numbers, but much worse is the eye test. Porzingis is routinely getting marooned far from the basket by much smaller defenders. Marcus Smart the other night was the prime example.
Almost a third (47 of 146) of his shots are coming from deep; only 17 percent of his shots are coming from within five feet of the basket.
And far too many of those shots are fadeaways from mid-range over smaller defenders, which suggests a discomfort with driving and contact, and a willingness to settle.
Reminder No. 1: To be fair, we’re only nine games into a long season. Reminder No. 2: Porzingis is 7-foot-3. Smart is 6-foot-3.
Let's take this to your inbox. Sign up below.