Sitting at 15 games under .500, Porzingis says Knicks are 'not that good of a team'
New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis said Sunday what has been obvious for months: his team is bad. The Knicks are 27-42, and it’s not like they are secretly better than their record — both their win percentage and their net rating rank 24th in the league. Porzingis’ comments are only notable because the players have been talking about making the playoffs all season and this is an acknowledgement that this has not been a realistic goal for a while.
“I think it was pretty easy to tell from the inside that we’re not that good of a team,’’ Porzingis said at the team hotel. “We can win games based on our talent, but it’s not going to last long. [We needed] more work, attention to details, to keep growing as a team. A good team needs time to play together. It was our first year of most of the guys playing together. It never happens like that [where] you trade a couple of players and you’re a championship contender. It’s understandable we weren’t going to win the championship, but I could tell we weren’t there yet.’’
“Of course, we all expected big things out of this year, but from the beginning it didn’t feel like — I felt we’d make big runs, but we weren’t there at that level where we wanted to be,’’ Porzingis said. “We can see now we’re not where we want it to be.’’
If you’ve followed the Knicks closely, then you know that this isn’t the first time Porzingis has said something like this. Back in January, after a loss to the Indiana Pacers, he told reporters that he never thought the team was jelling, even when it was winning games, via the Post:
“In the moment we were four games out of .500, I said it — I don’t see ourselves as that good of a team yet,’’ Porzingis said in his season’s most candid remarks. “We were still growing. We were winning games, but we still had a lot to learn. It was a good moment based on our talent, but we weren’t there yet and now it’s showing. We got to figure this out and keep growing as a team. It’s not coming together yet. It’s frustrating.’’
Then-New York guard Brandon Jennings said , and he after he joined the Washington Wizards. The 2016-17 Knicks have had horrible chemistry on both ends from the beginning of the season, and if they were ever going to contend for a postseason berth, they needed to have great chemistry in order to make up for their relative lack of talent.
Going into the offseason, it will be interesting to see what management decides to do with the roster. Team president Phil Jackson has been silent when it comes to how this season has affected his plans, so it’s unclear whether or not he sees New York’s performance as a massive disappointment or an accurate reflection of a group that was flawed from the beginning. I would suggest the latter — this is a mediocre team that needs to focus on becoming a good one by 2019 or 2020, rather than trying to fast-track the rebuilding process again. The first step is creating an identity, as the Knicks really don’t have one right now.