In the midst of this offseason, the New York Knicks are looking to go into rebuild mode. They finally parted ways with Phil Jackson, drafted a young point guard in Frank Ntilikina. Now, they are looking to trade Carmelo Anthony. So the time has come to finally build the team around the new face of the Knicks, the 21-year-old Kristaps Porzingis.
Porzingis is coming off a year where he averaged 18.1 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game. He has shown constant improvement during his first two years and is growing more comfortable with being the go to guy. He does need to improve his rebounding; hopefully, Kristaps can get his average to at least nine per game.
Kristaps has also increased his shots per game from 12.3 to 14.9 per game, which shows that he wants to take over more of the offense (all stats provided by basketball-reference.com). Along with his scoring increase, Kristaps also improved his field goal percentage from .421 to .450 and his three point percentage from .333 to .357. As for the defensive end, Porzingis averaged two blocks per game last season, which indicates that he is not afraid to get in the paint and contest shots.
We are near the end of the Carmelo Anthony era in New York. Anthony is only getting older and does not appear to want to stay in New York for the upcoming season. So it's time to make our young star the face of the Knicks. Porzingis seems comfortable with the New York media and the expectations of what being a Knick brings. He was booed on his draft night, but so far has overcome all his doubters and has shown that he is the next best big in New York since Patrick Ewing. He also seems like he is adapting to the American lifestyle which can be hard for a young man coming from a different country.
So this is the blue print for the Knicks the next few seasons: keep Porzingis happy and bring some help for him. Trade Carmelo for maybe a very good young player to pair with Porzingis as well as some draft picks. Keep developing Kristaps to become a more potent scorer so that we can be looking a superstar in the next year or two. Then maybe the Knicks can finally break the Ewing Curse.