Welcome to Knicks Weekly where I will go over the what happened with the Knicks on a week to week basis. I’ll talk about the best and worst players of the week and also will give some insight on how Knicks management is treating some of the younger players on the team.
The Knicks went 1-3 This week with their only win coming against the Nets on Tuesday. It was certainly a frustrating week, with the Knicks letting 2 games slip away in the Final minute. There were a couple great plays and performances from players but most of the week was just hurt to watch.
Stud of The Week
This player of the week seemed like the only guy to really dominate. Kanter looked amazing on the floor all week. He started the week with a 20 points 20 rebounds and 5 assists performance against the Nets. He dominated the whole game in the paint and looked unstoppable as he shot 80% from the Field. His +/- was a +11 for the Knicks when he was on the floor. But things quickly changed against Boston where his defensive liabilities were quickly exposed. Offensively he shot the ball very well at 70% for 17 points and he even pulled in 17 rebounds, but due to his inability to guard bigs like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, he was accountable for much of Boston’s scoring. Boston also came into the game well prepared, knowing that the Knicks bigs switch on everything, so they would expose Kanter often by putting guys that can dribble past him or threaten him with their shooting. He finished the game with 17 points and 17 rebounds but had 5 turnovers and had a +/- of -19. In the Last two games in which the Knicks lost in eerily similar fashion, Kanter continued his dominance with a 17 points 18 rebounds performance and a respectable 10 points 12 rebound performance. In both games his +/- broke equal at 0. Kanter’s averages for the week were: 16 points and 16.8 rebounds, while shooting 65% from the field and 89% at the freethrow line. He did however average 4.5 turnovers a game.
Scrub of the Week
I really like the guy and his demeanor on the court so I hate to do this to him but Tim Hardaway jr had an abysmal week. Like most players for the Knicks, the week started off well against the Nets where Tim shot 46% from the field and 60% from three. He had 15 points and 3 steals, and was +8 while on the floor. But everything went downhill from there. In the next 3 games he went 1 for 10, 1 for 14, and 3 for 9 from the field for a 15% field goal percentage and 7% from 3. He had a very tough week but really tried to stay involved and do the right thing on the floor even though his shot was not falling. He had a great drive to the bucket late in the game against the Bucks that led to an assist to the cutting KP late in the game. But overall he was dreadful, averaging only 8.5 points a game, while shooting 23.9% from the field and 20% from 3. We hope he can bounce back this week.
Frank Ntilikina: We got a couple good games from Frank this week. He had 8 points and 5 assists in 25 minutes to start the week. Then like like basically everyone else on the team, he seemed a bit overwhelmed by the Celtics stout defence. But Friday’s game against the Bucks may have been his best this week. He showed great penetration where he would either look for a mid range jumper or lay up, or he would dish it off to the roller for the easy bucket. He seemed like he was really looking to get the other guys involved and make them better. He has shown a good repertoire with Kyle O’Quinn all year especially with the pick and roll. He shot the ball with confidence and everything looked smooth. He didn’t force anything and instead let the game come to him. He had a couple great plays including a drive and scoop layup and mid range jumper in the second. Wally Szcerbiak, MSG analyst, said it best at half time, “You can’t come off the bench relaxed. You have to push and make an impression”. It’s exactly what Frank did during his time in the game. I was upset not to see more of him that game as he ended up playing just under 17 minutes. Jeff needs to let this kid grow especially when he’s playing well.
Kristaps Porzingis: KP looked pretty up and down this week. Most of his inconsistency has come from the offensive end. Defensively he has been doing well, where he is actually the league leader in blocks. He averaged 3 blocks a game this week. But he has been struggling a bit on offense. He had 28 points against the Nets and then his struggles against the Celtics continued. If the Knicks have any hope of building a strong contending team they’re going to need to find a way to make KP more effective against the Celtics. He had 16 points on 7 for 18 shooting (39%) from the field. It seems to me like KP has gotten too comfortable with his mid-range jumper. He knows he can shoot over any defender with that shot but what is happening is that defenders are getting under him during his shot and disrupting him. Whenever it happens he looks to the officials for the call, and isn’t getting them I would like to see him work on more back to basket plays or more cutting. We rarely get to see KP dunking and I feel with his quickness, he would be a good person to cut more against slower defenders. KP ended the week shooting 43% from the field while shooting an impressive 42% from 3. He did not shoot well from the Free Throw line shooting only 69%. My favorite part of the week from him was actually against the Bucks where after a foul Sterling Brown unnecessarily tried to knock the ball out of KP’s hand and KP bounced the ball off of his head. They were accessed double technicals but it was just nice to see that KP doesn’t let people just mess with him. I would like to see more of that same nastiness on the floor.