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.
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.
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.
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]