Last week, after a 0-3 start to the New York Knicks’ season, I wrote a surprisingly optimistic blog post about the team’s potential success. Now, three games later, and THREE WINS later, my optimism has proven its worthiness.
It started with a blowout against that other New York basketball team. KP once again shined, and the Knicks earned a much-needed home win against a team with a shockingly good offense. Later that weekend, the Knicks stunned the Cavs in Cleveland, as Hardaway and Porzingis combined for 66 points. And last night, the Knicks earned another win at home against the Denver Nuggets.
So after a 0-3 start, what exactly was it that clicked for the Bockers?
Well, to start, the Knicks are perhaps the deepest team in the league at the center position. Enes Kanter has exceeded expectation in New York and has not just controlled the boards well, but he has also been a dangerous inside threat. His scoring on the low post is tantamount to guys like Hardaway and McDermott getting open shots on the outside. Aside from Kanter, the Knicks have Kyle O’Quinn coming off the bench who, if he continues to play like this, will most definitely be in the running for 6th man of the year. Against the Nuggets, the Queens native registered 15 points, 12 boards, and 5 blocks. In addition to O’Quinn, the Knicks still have Willy Hernangomez to top off the three-headed monster of centers on the roster.
During this three-game win streak, Frank Ntilkina has shown some promise. While he still makes the occasionally stupid rookie pass, or get burned on D, he has also had some moments where he wins over the hearts of the Garden faithful. The French Prince also has had some injury issues that he has appeared to overcome.
The biggest key to the Knicks success, however, is clearly the play of Kristaps Porzingis. Call me crazy… but KP is playing at an MVP level. Aside from the blowout in Boston, the 7’3” Latvian has dropped at least 30 points in every game this season, including a career-high 38 against the Nuggets last night. Porzingis’ work with Dirk Nowitzki this summer is showing. His fadeaway has been unguardable, and his patience in the post has surpassed what it was last year. Add to the mix a couple of Jimmer-Range three-pointers and some blocks on the other end, is it too crazy to mention him as an early MVP candidate?
I said last time that this team is going to win some games, and I’ll continue to say that all year. When all cylinders click, this is a young, talented team that can make a serious playoff push come April.
KP is hot, Hardaway found his stroke and ball movement has returned to the Garden. What’s not to smile about?