New York Knicks Got A Glimpse Of Life Without Kristaps Porzingis

New York Knicks head coach Kurt Rambis decided to give rookie Kristaps Porzingis the night off against the Detroit Pistons because of a bruised lower leg, according to the New York Post. Though the team scored a much needed victory, the franchise got a glimpse of what life would be like without the 20-year-old Latvian. For the sake of the Knicks, this should not be something that happens frequently.

With a 26-38 record, the New York Knicks might not be mathematically eliminated from the NBA Playoffs just yet, but the smart bet would be that they are not one of the eight teams from the Eastern Conference that are going to compete for a chance to play for the championship this season. Kurt Rambis tells the media that the Knicks have an obligation to try to win games, but deep down, the franchise knows that it’s best to build towards next season.

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony [Photo by Elsa/Getty Images]Kristaps Porzingis is scheduled to be a major part of next season and at least the following ten seasons after that. New York Knicks president Phil Jackson took a gamble on Porzingis with the fourth overall selection in the most recent NBA Draft. With the 7-foot-3-inch forward showing a ton of potential, the franchise has an obligation to make sure that Kristaps is in the best position to succeed and become a legend in the National Basketball Association.

Without Kristaps Porizingis, the New York Knicks needed another starter. Kurt Rambis initially thought about going small ball by inserting rookie Jerian Grant at shooting guard, which would have moved Aaron Afflalo to small forward and Carmelo Anthony to power forward. However, Rambis decided to go a more traditional route by starting Derrick Williams at the power forward slot instead of Porzingis.

Knicks star Derrick Williams Derrick Williams [Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images]Derrick Williams was once the second overall selection in the NBA Draft, right behind Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though he failed to reach that potential, the 24-year-old forward has now seemingly found a home with the New York Knicks, where he is a valuable reserve. Kurt Rambis gave Williams the starting nod, but he ended up playing less than 20 minutes against the Detroit Pistons.

Lance Thomas ended up receiving a good amount of playing time off the bench. Since he’s versatile enough to play both small forward and power forward, he was an excellent partner for Carmelo Anthony. Thomas is a willing defender, so that means that Anthony can focus more on the offensive end. Unfortunately for the New York Knicks, though, Thomas is going to be a heavily desired free agent and another NBA team might overpay for him.

Knicks head coach Kurt Rambis Kurt Rambis [Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]The New York Knicks were able to beat the Detroit Pistons because of a collective team effort. Aaron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony and Robin Lopez combined for 65 points and 26 rebounds. Not only that, they also all shot pretty efficiently. The Knicks had five players score in double figures, as opposed to the Pistons only having three players hit that mark. As great as certain players are, to win in the NBA requires a team effort.

Even though the team appreciated the victory against the Detroit Pistons, they would much rather not have to go through too many games without Kristaps Porzingis. The kid has a long way to go before he takes over the New York Knicks, but for the time being, they need to keep tapping at the resources to see what they have on their plate. Interestingly enough, the world might be a decade away from seeing the full potential of what Kristaps Porzingis can do, but for impatient Knicks fans, they need to see it now.

[Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]