Yes, yes! It’s time once again to dig in to the Summer Knicks. Tonight’s affair will be at 9:30 EST on ESPN, so you should be able to catch it. Games start at 3:00 and run concurrently all day. Oh, and look alive, the playoffs are less than a week away, so you might need to get geared up quicker than that. Obscure NBA jersey watch is in full swing. This year all 30 teams are represented at Summer League as well as a few international clubs. So turn your brains on. There’s gonna be a lot of uhh... upstairs action.
Last year the Knicks had some exciting open floor moments from Kevin Knox and the ball-dominant Allonzo Trier tried to show he belonged. It was the quiet and explosive Mitchell Robinson that stole our hearts with his play.
And apparently he’d like to show off an improved jump shot? Hopefully that means more than just the ability to get it on the rim.
So I don’t know who’s starting for either team but I took at a stab at it based on a bunch of twitter videos that are like four seconds long. Whatever the case may be, expect some wild back and forth hoops. Summer League always has a breakneck pace and this should be no different.
No Frank Ntilikina for the Knicks as the third year pro readies himself for the FIBA World Cup at the end of the summer. Probably just as well because the complete lack of composure in summer ball doesn’t exactly suit Frank’s more refined sensibility. Especially when he got completely hosed on calls like this:
The other significant omission is UCLA wing, Kris Wilkes, whom the Knicks agreed to sign to a two-way contract directly after the draft.
Kris Wilkes is sick so not on the Knicks summer league roster. The undrafted rookie is still expected to sign a two-way with the team.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) July 2, 2019
Sick! There is good news, as the Knicks will trot out some intriguing characters like Amir Hinton, from Division II, Shaw University and the high flying Oregon Duck forward, Kenny Wooten.
On the other side of the ball, the Pelicans draft picks Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker won’t be suiting up. The big ticket item, Zion Williamson, on the other hand, will be ready to get met at the summit by Mitchell Robinson and I cannot wait to see it.
Williamson is the marquee matchup against RJ Barrett even though those two are unlikely to spend much time guarding one another (thank goodness). What they likely will be doing is setting the tone for their teammates. The first game might be shivering with jitters but I expect we’ll see some leftover fireworks.
Expect a choppy affair out of the gate with the crowd’s energy egging the young, impressionable players on, and the kids trying to do a bit too much. As things settle down, the Knicks will start to distance themselves. Trier will try to assert himself as the reliable scorer his teammates should count on (aka gimme the f’ing ball) to pull them through any rough patches. The Summer Knicks in general have a bit more seasoning and that should be enough to keep the Pelicans at bay.
Summer Knicks by 19.