Knicks Notes: Lineup, Carmelo, Porzingis

Like team president Phil Jackson, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is reluctant to lean too heavily on a small-ball lineup, despite indications that his team plays best with Kristaps Porzingis at center and Carmelo Anthony at power forward, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

“It’s always a game of chicken,” Hornacek said. “I thought earlier in the season we went small and it didn’t pay off. We ended up losing the game. It’s one of those feels if it works, you ride it. If not then you need to get out of it quicker.”

Of course, even if the Knicks’ small-ball lineup plays well, Hornacek will have to choose his words carefully when he discusses it. That five-man unit leaves Joakim Noah on the bench, and Noah is only a dozen games into the four-year, $72MM contract he received from Jackson and the Knicks this summer. That deal will only look worse if the Knicks play their best ball without Noah on the floor.

Here’s more from out of New York:

  • The Knicks have a handful of veterans on their roster who have battled injuries over the course of their careers, but if the team wants to be a contender this season, it must decide whether to prioritize protecting those players or going all-out, argues Steve Popper of the USA Today Network. “We definitely need to be more desperate,” said veteran guard Brandon Jennings.
  • Anthony remains the face of the franchise for the Knicks, but that may not last much longer, as Popper writes in a separate piece examining the continued development of Porzingis. Still, Anthony hopes that teams continue to focus their defensive attention on him to give the second-year big man a chance to thrive. “Teams, regardless of what’s happening out there, they will always load up and double-team and take me out of the game. And he benefits from that,” Anthony said. “So I want to keep doing that and what he has to do.”
  • For even more Knicks news, notes, and rumors, be sure to check our team page for the club.

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