John Jenkins, the latest in a parade of former first round picks the New York Knicks are attempting to revive as part of their rebuild, brought the house down in Florida last night, dropping a franchise-record 44 points for the Westchester Knicks en route to a 125-104 blowout of the Lakeland Magic.
The victory raised the record of the Knicks G-League affiliate to above .500, putting the W-Knicks at 3-2 on the season. Jenkins was downright dirty, hitting 13 of 17 shots (including 9 of 10 from three) and adding 4 rebounds and 2 assists. He was a plus-29 on the night, and he broke the previous W-Knicks scoring record of 43 points — set last year by Trey Burke — using an array of moves. His arsenal included almost everything you could ask for, including a long step-back jumper, a nifty floater in the lane, a successful layup that began with Jenkins absorbing contact and then hanging in the air for so long that what he did might be considered human flight, and a Steph Curry-level flurry of three pointers.
It’s been a spectacular start to the season for Jenkins, who per contest through four games is averaging 31.8 points on 54.4 percent shooting (54.8 percent from three!), 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists. The impressive performance represents at least the second time Jenkins has dropped 40 in a G-League game; he did so for the W-Knicks against the Long Island Nets last year.
A former standout player at Vanderbilt University, Jenkins forewent his final year of eligibility to enter the NBA draft in 2012, and he wound up being selected 23rd overall by the Atlanta Hawks. He last played in the NBA during the 2016-17 season, and overall he has played 145 total NBA games for the Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, averaging 5.1 points and not much else in meager amounts of playing time. He has, however, shown an ability to play well in the NBA; in his second game with the Mavericks in October 2015, Jenkins actually started, posting 17 points (on 8-16 from the field), 6 rebounds and 3 assists in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jenkins, 6’4”, is listed as a shooting guard, although everyone knows that basketball is moving towards being a position-less sport, so his potential positions include some point guard, shooting guard, and even small forward.
There’s no guarantee that Jenkins will ever make it onto the NBA roster, but he fits the mold for what the Knicks are trying to do, which is find hidden diamonds in the rough in the form of former lottery and first round draft picks, and even un-drafted players like Allonzo Trier. Seeing as the likes of Trier, Burke, and Damyean Dotson have become mainstays on the actual Knicks, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Jenkins could one day soon be suiting up for the Knickerbockers proper.
For now, your next chance to catch him in action is this Wednesday, November 14 at 7 p.m., when the W-Knicks take on the Canton Charge at the Canton Memorial Civic Center in Canton, Ohio.