Report: Kristaps Porzingis likely to stay in Knicks starting lineup
Kristaps Porzingis hasn't exactly impressed during his first preseason, but that doesn't mean he's played himself out of the starting lineup. KP is here to stay—at least for now.
Here's more from Newsday's Al Iannazzone:
Porzingis averaged 7.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 19.3 minutes a night during his three exhibition contests. It's not the worst line ever, but he's also had his discouraging moments which fit poorly with 35 percent shooting.
We've certainly seen why the Knicks value him so highly. There isn't anyone else his height who can ball-fake and drive to the hoop with the agility that he boasts. He can drain threes (he was 3-for-7 this preseason). He moves well on D. But we've also seen him get muscled around a bunch. We've seen exactly why even his staunchest supporters say he's not quite NBA-ready.
The Knicks are clearly prioritizing development over winning in this situation, which is perfectly understandable. If they wanted to win right away, they'd go with Kyle O'Quinn or even Carmelo Anthony at the starting 4 spot. Instead, it's KP, who may project as more of a stretch 5 down the road, anyway. And if it doesn't work, Derek Fisher and Co. can always make a change.
Barring something unexpected, Fisher plans to start the 7-foot-3 rookie against Boston. He was asked at the morning shootaround whether Porzingis is ready to be a starting power forward in the NBA. Fisher said it remains to be seen, but the Knicks believe in the 20-year-old from Latvia.
“We're going to find out if he's ready,” Fisher said before the Knicks prepared to play the Celtics. “He has the ability. He has the desire to be good. He works at it really hard and we do believe in the versatility that he offers our team offensively and defensively. That's why he'll probably be out there to start the season as our four.
“Ultimately what's best for the team is what decision I'll make. Nothing is set in stone. But I think Kris will have a great opportunity to start the season.”