Considering they have just one player even approaching stardom, the individual likely to fill that void with his 7’3″, 240-pound frame is Kristaps Porzingis.
The 22-year-old had a poor showing in his second game of the preseason, a 34-point blowout loss to the crosstown Brooklyn Nets. The team was outscored by 20 points in his 16 minutes of action, all in the first half. He shot 2-of-7 for six points.
And though they didn’t intend to broadcast their discussion, MSG analysts Alan Hahn and Wally Szczerbiak blasted Porzingis for it.
Their conversation was accidentally aired during a halftime commercial break from the Knicks’ 117-83 defeat on Sunday.
— Steven Neco Cortez (@LifeAsKorleone) October 9, 2017
“The other thing you could do is kill Porzingis for being minus-20 in 16 minutes,” Hahn says to an agreeing Szczerbiak. “Dude, like come on, man. You’re a star. This what you’re doing out? You’re just out there?”
After the loss, Porzingis was more worried about his team’s defense than his individual performance.
“We’re focused on the wrong things,” he said. “We have to keep it simple and make it easy on ourselves. Play one-on-one defense and guys know I’ll be protecting the rim. We’re too worried about our rotations. We’re using energy on the wrong things.”
Porzingis wouldn’t comment on the criticism from Hahn and Szczerbiak, but head coach Jeff Hornacek noted that plus-minus stats can be “misleading sometimes.”
“KP has worked hard all summer on his game,” Hornacek added. “He played in EuroBasket. He’s been great for us so far in preseason. He has had a nagging (hip) injury.”
Thanks in part to his nagging hip, KP has played in just two of the Knicks’ four preseason games. He missed his team’s 117-95 loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday night.