The New York Knicks will start Joakim Noah, but who will be the backup center? According to head coach Jeff Hornacek, it’s a three-man race.
Though his presence has been missed, Joakim Noah’s injury absence may be a blessing in disguise. New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek intends to start Noah at center, but the backup situation hasn’t yet been sorted out.
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With Noah’s absence comes opportunity for others, which has thus birthed the race for the role of backup center.
Noah has missed the Knicks’ first three preseason games with a hamstring injury. New York is merely taking precaution with a warrior who wants to be on the court, but shouldn’t risk his health for a preseason game.
According to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, Noah’s absence has enabled three players to compete for the job as backup center.
Jeff Hornacek says it's a three-man race for backup center between Marshall Plumlee, Kyle O'Quinn and Willy Hernangomez
Marshall Plumlee started against the Brooklyn Nets and shined as a reserve against the Washington Wizards. He’s a workhorse who steps up in big games, gets physical on defense, and moves well without the ball on offense.
Plumlee is also an excellent passer for a player his size.
O’Quinn started the preseason opener against the Houston Rockets. He recorded nine rebounds in 18 minutes, which helps display the upside he provides with his powerful frame and near 7’5″ wingspan.
O’Quinn can space the floor when given time, as well, with expanding range and a quality shot from 16 feet.
Hernangomez was brilliant in relief of Plumlee against the Nets and got the start against the Wizards. He’s an outstanding passer from the post, a committed offensive rebounder, and a skilled finisher who can get his hook shot off over both shoulders.
Hernangomez also does an excellent job of diving hard to the basket, which makes him an asset in the pick and roll.