Three games into the season, the New York Knicks have yet to put a tally in the win column. An opening night blowout in OKC proceeded the Knicks blowing a 21 point lead in their home opener, and last night the Knicks dropped their third in a row, this time in Boston.
The Knicks getting off to a rough start is nothing new. However, what is new, is the promise we’ve been able to take away from these three games.
First, there was the opener, where Kristaps Porzingis matched up with his former mentor and teammate, Carmelo Anthony. In a hectic, fast-paced game against the three-headed monster that OKC created this offseason, Porzingis dropped 31 points on 11-25 shooting and grabbed 12 boards. He looked like an all-star, simply put. What we got to see from Porzingis was something we haven’t quite seen yet: His ability to be patient in the post, and get to his spots. Often in the past two years, the young Latvian’s eyes lit up when he had a mismatch in the post, and he would go to work almost too quickly, forcing up bad shots.
In the Knicks home opener, it was once again Porzingis who was virtually unstoppable, as he took Andre Drummond to school. The Knicks ran the floor well as the got out in transition, and the defense was solid up until the 4th quarter. Ramon Sessions is shockingly efficient, rarely turns it over, and has provided buckets for the Knicks when they’ve needed it most.
In Boston last night, the Celtics revealed to the Knicks what perhaps our biggest problem is: perimeter defending. The second-year man out of Cal Jaylen Brown went for 18 in the first half and finished with 23. He knocked down a few outside jumpers, but more importantly, has absolutely no issue muscling his way to the basket, and finishing at the rim. In an NBA game that’s dominated by perimeter scoring, having no perimeter defenders is not-so-shockingly a serious problem.
Aside from the positives that we take away from the first three games, there are a series of issues that must be fixed.
Willy Hernangomez is a rising star who has seen his spot in the rotation completely disappear due to the phenomenal play of Enes Kanter. Tim Hardaway can’t shoot a ball into the ocean at the moment. Doug McDermott probably can, but has yet to find an open look. Perhaps most importantly, Frank Ntilikina has caught the injury bug since being drafted by the Knicks, and it’s showing no signs of going away.
If all of these things can be fixed, or even if maybe one of them can be fixed, the Knicks are going to have an easier time going forward. A 0-3 start is not great, but this team is going to win some games. On Friday night, the Knicks will have a winnable game at home against the Nets, and from there, we should be able to get the ball rolling.