Among all of the Knicks media days in recent memory, the 2018 edition was trending towards being one of the more boring ones. The Knicks held a town hall and a press conference with management last week, and many of the players echoed the same sentiments of “we’re building something here, youth, CULTURE, etc.” during today’s Media Day.
Well, that is, until Enes Kanter stole the show at the end. But let’s start at the beginning:
The Unicorn is back! Yes, the Knicks led with their All-Star, inarguably still the player with the most gravitas on the team despite the stable of other exciting youngsters on the roster.
The elephant in the room was whether KP would give a rough timetable for his return from ACL surgery. In short: no, and he’ll be ready when he’s ready. Also, just take a moment to look at how very buff our son has gotten since February:
Kristaps Porzingis says his knee is feeling good and he’s doing light running and shooting. No timetable yet on his return. He says he spent ‘productive days with Knicks coach David Fizdale in Latvia and enjoyed his time with him. pic.twitter.com/sDssnrHR1z— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 24, 2018
Porzingis makes a salient point about his rehab from a torn ACL: "There is no protocol for a 7-3 guy." No precedent for a guy his size recovering from that injury that. Says that's made him take things more conservatively and differently.— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) September 24, 2018
Porzingis is eligible to sign a five-year extension before the start of the regular season, but due to cap implications, that’s not entirely likely to happen until next summer. KP echoed as much when asked about it, which is (I think) his first public comments on the matter:
Kristaps Porzingis says he’s not thinking about the potential 5-year, $157 million extension he can sign with the Knicks prior to the season. He also declines to speculate about the possibility of missing the season when he’s asked about it.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 24, 2018
That was about it as far as interesting info regarding Porzingis. I think he was asked about a potential return date about 20 times, and gave roughly the same answer every time. But while KP was wrapping up, look who showed up to the party:
So what’s up with Kev? Of course, you probably already learned everything that you could ever need to know about the rook from Chiniqua’s exclusive interview last week, but he had a few interesting nuggets to offer today as well:
Kevin Knox: "There’s nothing wrong with rebuilding."— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) September 24, 2018
Damn right there’s not! Knox also has some potentially lofty (but realistic) goals set out for himself this season:
Kevin Knox said he thinks he has a chance to be rookie of the year, though it’s not his primary goal. pic.twitter.com/bCumebdbpm— Barbara Barker (@meanbarb) September 24, 2018
Knox also talked a little about the adjustment to the NBA, and any advice he’s gotten from John Calipari or other Kentucky basketball alums. Honestly, pretty run-of-the-mill stuff and not much that you haven’t heard from him before. Also, it’s always nice to see the guys boosting each other up:
Knicks' Kevin Knox says he's been impressed by Frank Ntilikina's aggressive nature on offense during pickup games. He says Ntilikina’s attacked the pick-and-roll in those settings.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 24, 2018
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Timmy! Despite the fact that it’s kind of uncomfortable to admit, this guy is our de facto star player until either Knox shows he’s ready for that load or Porzingis comes back. So what he says is probably kind of important! And luckily, he seems to really be embracing the role of “the vet” on the team, despite being relatively young himself:
Knicks' Tim Hardaway Jr. says he's embraced a leadership role with his younger teammates, texting and calling them over the course of the offseason in an effort to establish a culture in NY.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 24, 2018
Hardaway Jr. on Porzingis: “We know he’s not going to play at the beginning of the season. Until he’s back, we’re going to hold down the fort."— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) September 24, 2018
Much like Kristaps, Frank came back from summer vacation looking yolked:
Frank Ntilikina grew over the summer and is now officially listed at 6-6. He also looks like he hit the gym too. pic.twitter.com/2jHqe1Yxno— Barbara Barker (@meanbarb) September 24, 2018
Other than his general yolkedness, Frank didn’t have too many new things to share with the class.
Frank Ntilikina says last season he might've been thinking too much on the court. #Knicks— Chris Iseman (@ChrisIseman) September 24, 2018
“I feel great about guarding all positions. I’ve been guarding big men. As a competitor and defensive player, I’ll never say I can’t guard a guy” - @frank_ntilikina #KnicksMediaDay (@sapsports) pic.twitter.com/rpyQipNmEM— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) September 24, 2018
All I know is, I may be in the minority, but I like the blonde tips and hope they’re here to stay! Also, Frank and Mario Hezonja have what I’m sure will be everyone’s favorite Knick bromance this year:
Mario Hezonja says he's closest with Frank Ntilikina of any Knicks player. Says he's taking him under his wing. "I'm there to help him. I'm not going to let anything distract him... I know how bottom feels." No word yet if they're playing Fortnite together too.— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) September 24, 2018
The best of the rest
Look, I love all the rest of the players too, but I’m sure you’re all antsy for the big Kanter reveal, so I’ll just lump Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, Hezonja, Trey Burke and Emmanuel Mudiay’s highlights together:
Courtney Lee: I'm still excited about this season. My mindset is to come in, be prepared and do whatever the coach asks of me. #Knicks— Chris Iseman (@ChrisIseman) September 24, 2018
Mario Hezonja was asked where is his sweet spot on the court: “Everywhere. Super Mario.”— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) September 24, 2018
Lance Thomas says David Fizdale wants the Knicks to be one of the best conditioned teams in the league. “I’m pretty sure no team has been running as much as we’ve been running.” Traditionally, Miami always prioritizes conditioning; Fizdale seems to be bringing that approach to NY— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 24, 2018
Trey Burke says Mitchell Robinson reminds him of young Shaquille O'Neal...skinner version. Okay.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) September 24, 2018
Trey Burke's cornrows are already in midseason form pic.twitter.com/BL30bA7f0s— Alex Wolfe (@thealexwolfe) September 24, 2018
Mudiay on his season after arriving on New York, stating it was tough to get acclimated after the trade. States he’s put in a lot of work this summer to be the player he wants to be going forward.— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) September 24, 2018
Ok, on to the main event...
happy media day everyone pic.twitter.com/2QqgoCKG6M— Seth Rosenthal (@seth_rosenthal) September 24, 2018
Welcome to the 2018-19 New York Knicks season!