Three games into the season the Knicks are looking like a new team. Yes, there are still 79 games to be played but what I’ve seen so far has been a productive brand of winning basketball. There are areas that need to be tightened up and improved, minor problems that can be attributed to rust from the offseason.
Wednesday October 28th NYK 122 – MIL 97
Thursday October 29th ATL 112 – NYK 101
Saturday October 31st NYK 117-110
The major points that I took from the games are as follows…
- Derrick Williams is going to surprise people. The dude is freakishly athletic and is out to prove his doubters wrong. The Knicks were trailing early on against the Bucs before Williams was subbed in. He provided instant offense and a spark that energized the team to erase the deficit and take the lead. The former 2nd overall pick can hit the 3, play above the rim, runs the floor like a deer, and brings decent size at 6’8″. As much as I hate making this comparison, Williams has so far reminded me of a bigger J.R. Smith at least regarding pure athleticism, I wouldn’t be surprised if Derrick Williams is the second or third leading scorer on the team by the end of the year.
- Kristaps Porzingis is good. There should be no reason to worry about the choice to draft him. His basketball skills are apparent as is his size. The old basketball saying goes, “you can’t teach height,” a 7-footer who can’t shoot or dribble is still 7 feet tall on defense. Porzingis brings that sort of height with legitimate offensive basketball skills. When Porzingis and Robin Lopez are on the floor together the opponents will have a hard time getting easy shots in the paint.The length Kristaps possesses will affect many shots from all over the floor. His shot is smooth and he moves well for a guy his size. He seems to experience confidence and timidity on the court, looking for his shot and challenging on defense but also making one pass too many on occasion. He will need to bulk up to bang with the big uglies in the league but so far he seems to have the ability to influence both ends of the court.
- Melo is rusty. No two ways about this. His shot was off for the first two games and the Knicks went 1-1. Against the Hawks and the Bucs Melo was able to fill the stat sheet but shot poorly from the floor. It is great to see him contribute across the board, but it is his scoring off of relatively efficient shooting that the team needs more than anything else. The Knicks proved that they can dispatch weaker teams without Carmelo at his best but that won’t be the case against legitimate play off contenders such as the Atlanta Hawks. On Halloween he broke out, scoring 37 points shooting efficiently and filling out the box score in a win over the Wizards. It’s important to remember that his season was cut short early last year because of a knee injury so it is safe to assume that he is still working his way back into game shape and getting used to the pace of the game again. So far through three games he is averaging 24 points 6.7 rebounds 4.0 assists 1.3 steals .7 blocks, a pretty solid line from Carmelo despite the fact that he is only shooting 41% from the floor. I would be happy if he could boost his percentage to around 45% and sacrifice 3 to 4 points a game.
Total points for the Knicks: 340
Points per game: 113
Total points for opponents: 319
Points per game against: 106
Spurs and Cavs are up next…..