On Saturday the New York Knicks finished their first practice with their nominal regular-season roster, having already cut the likes of Nigel Hayes, Trey Burke and Xavier Rathan-Mayes. Some important injured-bockers also made their triumphant return to the practice court.
Frank Ntilikina (knee) didn't participate in contact portions of practice today. Kristaps Porzingis participated in all of practice.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 14, 2017
Kristaps Porzingis is back! And—believe it or not—he’s still quite tall!
The Knicks were measuring standing reach today. Kristaps Porzingis said he checked in around 9 feet, 4.5 inches: pic.twitter.com/2DZ0MJXqxP— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 14, 2017
As for Frank Ntilikina, he didn’t participate in practice at all two days ago, so non-contact participation is a step up. According to Ian Begley, both should be ready by the season opener.
Barring some unforeseen setback, both Frank Ntilikina (knee) and Kristaps Porzingis (hip) will play in the Knicks' season opener Thursday.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 14, 2017
That would be a mighty fine development. I can stomach the hype surrounding the “Carmelo Anthony Revenge Game” as long as our boy Frank is out there getting deflections and dropping dimes.
In other news, Jeff Hornacek is employing a simpler defensive scheme did season, and Kristaps is a fan:
"(Last season the approach) was confusing guys and it was confusing me,” said the Unicorn. “It didn't help at all. This year we have a much more clearer (approach) on the defensive end and it's going to help.''
It’s hard to predict exactly where the Knicks will fall in the bottom echelon of NBA defenses—they lost some terrible defenders, but gained some new ones. Hopefully a clearer scheme will help a bit.