Assessing the Knicks' Center Battle
Enes Kanter was the key piece the New York Knicks received back in the Carmelo Anthony trade. Kanter, who averaged 14 points and seven rebounds last season in a bench role, could soon become the team's featured post option for New York. His post game is one of the most polished in the league and as a 7-footer, he has the size to dominate in the paint. Regardless of all that he has accomplished in his six year career, Kanter isn't guaranteed the starting job in New York. Willy Hernangomez is Kanter's main competition. Hernangomez bursted onto the scene last season as a rookie with his elite rebounding ability and even nabbed a first team all-rookie nod. His jumper was smooth and his shot blocking was impressive. Unfortunately his man defense is suspect. Kanter suffers that same problem. With Kristaps Porzingis manning the power forward spot (and also likely soaking up some minutes at the center spot himself) there is only room for one of the foreign big men. In 12 games, there will be yet another candidate for the Knicks' starting center position too. Once Joakim Noah returns from a suspension stemming from a drug violation last season, he too will be in the running. Noah is due $54 million left over the next three seasons so it is unlikely he is going to just be left riding the bench collecting the second highest salary on the team (to Kanter). This underscores the Knicks' issues. In a league predicated on ball movement and tempo, they have overloaded their roster with old school big men. This comes without even mentioning Kyle O'Quinn, who is now, alongside Porzingis, the longest tenured Knick. Jeff Hornacek plans to use the preseason to see who will win the position. Regardless of what happens, the Knicks have too many bigs.