ESPN’s Chad Ford takes a look at who the New York Knicks should be counting on to lead them to a title.
Kristaps Porzingis: He’s going to lead this team to the playoffs, but I’m betting on Porzingus to be the one to do it.
He’s had a fantastic season so far, averaging 17.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
He also has the makings of an All-Star caliber player, averaging 21.4 minutes and shooting 52.2 percent.
Porzingas should be able to provide the Knicks with some much-needed scoring in the playoffs.
The only issue is that Porzinges shooting is a bit off the charts.
His free throws are a career-worst 4.9 per game, his turnovers are an all-time high of 1,924 and his three-point shooting is still a little off the mark.
Porzys usage has increased a little bit, averaging 14.8 minutes per game this season, but that’s due to him being playing on the second unit for the most part.
He has been good at creating turnovers, but the Knicks still have a ways to go to reach the playoffs this season.
I can see him being a big part of a championship team, but it’s hard to trust him as a starter right now.
Porza’s offensive rating is also way off the chart.
He ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring, shooting 54.9 percent, and averaging 14 points per game.
Porzeras defense is also off the ball.
The Knicks rank 28th in defensive rating, allowing 106.3 points per 100 possessions.
The problem with Porzingos defensive play is that it has been mostly uncharacteristic of him this season so the Knicks need to do a better job of keeping him in check.
The biggest question mark is how well Porzinga will fit in with the Knicks starting five.
If Porzingo can stay healthy and be the same consistent performer as he was last season, he could be a force for the team for years to come.
However, if Porzingi has a bad season, the Knicks will need to find a way to move on and get a new starting point guard.
Amar’e Stoudemire: I really don’t have a good opinion on Stoudeems play right now, but he should be playing at a higher level with this team.
The NBA season has been a disaster for Stoudes offensive production.
He is currently averaging 13.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 3 apg while shooting 37.2% from the field and 33.7% from beyond the arc.
His defensive rating of 102.3 is also an all time low, making him the worst defensive player in the league right now at the position.
Stoudems shooting percentage has also been down, shooting a career low of 41.5%.
He also is averaging a career high of 16.6 points per contest, but his rebounding is way down and he is still struggling offensively.
The big question mark for Stoutemire right now is whether or not he will play a bigger role this season for the Knicks.
The answer will most likely depend on how he performs as a starting point forward.
If he continues to play at a high level, the rest of the Knicks offense will have a chance to grow and get back to its All-NBA caliber level.
Stoutems play will depend on whether he stays healthy and can stay in the rotation.
If not, Stoutes development will likely come to a screeching halt.
Kristi Mladenovic: Mladenović is not just the best player on this team, he is one of the best guards in the entire NBA.
He was an All Star in the 2014 NBA Finals, and in that game, he was a total monster for the Celtics, scoring 28 points on 13-of-17 shooting from the floor and 8-of_11 from three-pointers.
The All-star is averaging 17 points and 8.5 rebounds per game on the season, and he has been so good this season that the Knicks should definitely trust him to lead his team to another championship.
Mladenovs offensive rating of 107.4 is also one of his best marks of the season.
The point guard has the ability to get to the rim and finish in the paint with his length and ability to create for others.
The question mark in this situation is whether Mladenivs defense can hold up to the NBA’s best point guards.
If Mladenova’s defensive rating is at 100.0, the Celtics should absolutely trust him in the playoff run.
But if his defense is at 99.1, Mladenvos chances to be a key part of this team will be slim to none.
Jahlil Okafor: I honestly don’t know if Okafos offensive