Monday night was the New York Knicks preseason debut and just like that, the Knicks are the most important thing on the planet. In their debut, I noticed an interesting decision made in the starting lineup.
With Kristaps Porzingis most likely out for the season, it appears as though Lance Thomas will be stepping up and taking his spot in the lineup to start alongside Enes Kanter, Kevin Knox, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.
I can’t help but think that’s incorrect.
Lance Thomas has been a great soldier over the last few years. He scored 12 points in 16 minutes against the Wizards in preseason Game 1. He did his job.
He’s also 30 years old and we might be stumbling into the Jarrett Jack situation we found ourselves in last season where we’re all screaming for the veteran player to hit the bench so that the young guys can you know, play NBA basketball too.
So who should be the New York Knicks starting 5?
The first clear starter no matter what has to be Kevin Knox.
His ceiling is through the roof. Did you see what I did there? But seriously, he’s objectively the best player on the team and could have his number retired when it’s all said and done. Play him 40 minutes a night and he could lead the league in scoring.
Tim Hardaway Jr is the type of cat that once he sees a shot go in the basket early, he can potentially snap for 30 points that night. Orrrr, if he misses that first shot, he can easily go a week without scoring. For now, you let him start at the 2. For now.
People really love Enes Kanter. I’m not one of those people.
His Twitter is corny and I can’t watch him constantly be in the wrong position defensively. He is the tragic combination of being way too slow to physically rotate in time and he lacks the basketball intelligence to even understand that he’s supposed to be rotating.
Mitchell Robinson is a phenom. I honestly would be shocked if one game he jumps to block a shot and just never lands. Like his head hits the top of Madison Square Garden like when you let go of a balloon.
I don’t know what to make of Trey Burke but I do know one thing: he hustles his ass off.
Love that he never takes a single play off and he’s constantly sprinting everywhere. Personally, I’m not team Frank Ntilikina. I think he’ll become a solid rotational player like Iman Shumpert was for this squad.
But here’s the thing, I’d rather find out now if Ntilikina can ball now then in like, 3 years when he gets the opportunity the play and becomes a star on the Pacers or something. Trey Burke can be a Lou Williams-esque 6th man scorer. Let’s find out once and for all if Ntilikina is that dude.
So now we have one final spot and a few possible outcomes. Real quick, trade Courtney Lee for assets. He’s 33-years old on a rebuilding team. Let him go play for a title and let’s free up some Kyrie Irving money.
If you want to play small ball, I think Emmanuel Mudiay could play either the 2 or the 3. I mean, you’ll absolutely lose that game if Mudiay is starting but there’s flexibility there. Perhaps Fizdale can teach Mudiay what basketball is. Doubt it though.
I’ve already made it clear that Lance Thomas ain’t it. He would be the 12th man on the Golden State Warriors. He’d be on Brad Stevens’s coaching staff. He’s 1000% not an NBA starter.
You know I want Mario Hezonja to start. I’m not shy about this. Hezonja is the Croation Michael Beasley who shoots better from the 3-point line than Beasley and has far more sauce. He might cross someone up, place the ball on the hardwood, take a knee and stare down the defender he embarrassed.
This is Mario’s MVP SZN.
PG: Frank Ntilikina SG: Tim Hardaway Jr. SF: Mario Hezonja PF: Kevin Knox C: Mitchell Robinson
New York Knicks starting 5 going 82-0.