New York Knicks impressive in season opening win


Take that, Greg Monroe.

Prior to this past off season’s free agent extravaganza, it was reported by multiple media outlets that Greg Monroe to the New York Knicks was pretty much a done deal. Outlets such as the New York Post were already beginning to salivate over the prospects of Monroe being one of the focal points of the triangle offense.

Also on Empire Writes Back: 5 takeaways from season-opener.

In fact, Charley Rosen (a long-time friend of Phil Jackson) mentioned that Monroe would be the ideal fit for the triangle offense.

“He can score down there,’’ said Rosen to the New York Post. “He’s big, can hold his ground in the post, is left-handed, which holds an advantage to do unexpected things. He can establish position, has good hands and he’s a pretty good passer. He’d be a great fit.’’

Fans were excited. The Knicks were finally going to get a big-name free agent. Then July 2nd happened. Reports stated that Monroe had signed a three-year deal worth about $50 million. The Knicks were left at the alter and fans were baffled and thinking “what happened?”

Monroe and his agent recently pointed out that it wasn’t about what the Knicks did wrong. It was about what the Bucks did right.

“It was about what Milwaukee already brought to the table,” said David Falk (Monroe’s agent) to the New York Daily News.

But that, as they say, it is now water under the bridge.

The Knicks opened up their regular season against those same Bucks, and what an opener it was. The Knicks routed the Bucks 122-97 behind one of the most productive bench performances (for the Knicks) in recent memory.

73 points were scored by the Knicks bench. Even Cleanthony Early, the same player who has consistently drawn the ire of Knicks fans, contributed two points in his seven-minute cameo.

How’s that for production?

What makes this victory even more impressive is the fact that no player played more than 29 minutes, and yet seven players scored in double digits. If you didn’t see the game or looked over the box score, you’d never guess who led the team with 24 points. Hint: it wasn’t Carmelo Anthony. He was fifth on the team with only 11 points.

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The answer is Derrick Williams, who did plenty of damage in 21 minutes. Williams led a Knicks second unit that averaged a +17 in points. By comparison, starters averaged a meager +4. In terms of +/-, Sasha Vujacic led the starters with a +16. While Williams was the leading scorer, Kyle O’Quinn led in +/- with a +23.

And then there is that Kristaps Porzingis character. You know, the same guy that was practically booed off stage when he was drafted fourth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. While he missed eight of his eleven shots, Porzingis finished his night with 16 points and five rebounds; numbers that the Knicks would gladly live with.

All-in-all, it was an incredible performance by the Knicks, who didn’t rely on Carmelo Anthony for a boost. This was the type of team performance that Knicks fans have been expecting for years.

As for Greg Monroe, perhaps when his contract is done in three years, he’ll make a better free agent decision.

Next: Predictions for the regular season?

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