The New York Knicks summer league recently concluded and the team finished with a record of four wins and one loss. New York won all three of their seeding games but were knocked out out of the second round of the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors. The Knicks finished up by beating the Milwaukee Bucks in their consolation game.
In their week long tour of Las Vegas, we saw many things. Some of which were positive and some that were not. Here are five takeaways from the Summer League.
Porzingis is Better Than Expected:
When the Knicks selected Latvian big man, Kristaps Porzingis, fourth overall he was booed and the “Darko Millicic 2.0” comments came in fast and furious. Many thought he was two seasons away and all that Porzingis could do was shoot. He certainly showed us that he can do much more than that. One general manager said that Porzingis in “unbelievable and way ahead of Dirk”. The 19-year-old played good defense, protected the rim, ran the floor, beat opponents off the dribble, made good passes, hit jumpers and got to the free throw line. This kid can play, and his future is bright.
Grant is a Steal and Could Start:
How in the world did Jerian Grant get selected 19th overall? It’s crazy! Grant had a fantastic summer league as he displayed skills and excelled in all areas. He ran the triangle well and had really no hiccups whatsoever. Grant made excellent passes throughout the week and he also consistently hit both mid and long range jump shots. Defensively is where he made his mark, Grant constantly got into the passing lanes and reeked havoc, igniting the break. He showed much poise and was never flustered, Grant already looked like a seasoned pro. He’ll definitely challenge Jose Calderon for the starting job come training camp.
NDour Could Make the Team:
Maurice NDour went undrafted out of Ohio University and shocked everyone with his play at the Las Vegas summer league. NDour’s highlight was a 23 point game against Philadelphia, which included a thirteen point fourth quarter. He had a lot of energy and it was on full display while protecting the rim and running the fast break. NDour has a deft touch from 12-16 feet and he can also put the ball and the deck and get to the basket. He definitely has a chance to make the final 15-man roster and should at the very least make it to training camp.
Ricky Ledo’s Money Should Become Guaranteed:
After proving that he deserved to be a mainstay in the NBA last year, Ledo built on that in this year’s summer league. Although he didn’t pile on the points, Ledo also didn’t play a whole lot of minutes. When he did play for longer stretches Ledo put the ball in the basket and that’s something the Knicks need going forward. In the final outing he played an excellent all round game – 15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Ledo shot the ball well from long range, shacking and baking off the dribble and getting to the hoop. He simply bullied his opponent. Ledo also showed us his improved defense and rebounding. With Shved returning to Russia Ledo’s chances just got better, with Thanasis Antetokounmpo currently his only threat.
The Future is Bright:
The past week for the Knicks has been very successful and the future is most certainly not looking up. Jerian Grant showed that he’s definitely NBA ready, Kristaps Porzingis is months, not years away and Cleanthony Early has put on some pounds and showed a lot more confidence in his game. New York also found a diamond in the rough with Maurice NDour as well as Alex Kirk – both have a realistic chance of making of making the final cut. Antetokounmpo showed us all why he should be signed; his never-ending energy and athleticism as well as his superb hustle, and defense all of which the Knicks need. The young talent is there, and even though summer league should be taken lightly, Jackson seems to be moving the youth initiative forward, and that was clearly evident in Las Vegas.