It’s hard to believe the hottest team in New York is the Knicks, but the betting odds for Knicks games certainly tell you that.
Winners of five of the last six games, the Knicks have become relevant again n the city and frankly the most pleasant surprise this young NBA Season.
All of this has come on the back of Kristaps Porzingis, who is red hot this year and has taken up the role of resident superstar at Madison Square Garden.
“I said my goals for the season were most improved player of the year,” Porzingis said. “Also… I think I have the opportunity to win defensive player of the year and also the all-star game is a goal for me individually. But all those things are going to come if we win games. All that stuff is going to come individually for us if we win so I’m happy as long as we’re playing this way.”
Prozingis has been liberated from the shadow of Carmelo Anthony, who was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder just before the season started. Out of his shadow, KP flourished with seven thirty-point performances in nine games, including an incredible 40 on Sunday against Indiana, bringing the Knicks back from the dead.
It’s not just the absence of Anthony though, which brought the third year player out of his shell. He also worked hard this summer to improve his game.
“I think I got a lot better this summer, just the strength and also just the confidence knowing that I’m going to get more opportunities,” Porzingis said. “I think the hard work is paying off.”
Of course, nine games does not make a season and Porzingis could drop off as time progresses. However, right now he’s the most exciting star in New York and embracing the spotlight.
“I think, again, the game has slowed [for him and] he’s playing with confidence,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He’s willing to take those shots and make the plays. That’s the step that he’s taken in becoming the main focus.”
And Porzingis is becoming a complete player.
“”I’m seeing a different type of defense almost every night,” he said. “No matter who I’m playing against they’re trying to be physical with me. I’m just trying to make the right decision, whether it’s me being aggressive and attacking or passing the ball,” Porzingis said after scoring 17 fourth-quarter points in the Knicks’ 108-101 win. “Just trying to play my game and staying calm mentally.”
After years of being dead and buried, the Knicks at 5-4 are alive and well and looking to make basketball relivent again in the city.
With the Giants collapsing, there’s a winning void in New York and the Knicks are starting to fill it nicely.