After Phil Jackson’s first year as President of the New York Knicks resulted in having the worst record in franchise history at 17-65, the Knicks two draft picks will participate in the Las Vegas Summer League to channel hope into the future seasons. At No. 4 overall, the Knicks went for the home run with Kristaps Porzingis, the 19-year-old Latvian who played for Baloncesta Sevilla in Spain, and acquired Jerian Grant, a guard from Notre Dame who was named as a finalist for the first-ever Jerry West Award that represented the best shooting guard in college basketball.
Before the Knicks take the court in their first Las Vegas Summer League game, management was busy signing four free agents that will immediately impact the quality of the team. Kyle O’Quinn was acquired from the Orlando Magic in a sign-and-trade, along with signing Arron Afflalo, Robin Lopez and Derrick Williams. Knicks tickets on the secondary market will not be as hard to get when compared to the days of Patrick Ewing, but the rebuilding process took a huge leap forward with the Knicks smart moves both financially and in terms of gathering talent.
The Knicks summer league roster will have the brother of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis, in addition to Grant, Porzingis, 2014 second-round pick Cleanthony Early, 2015 NBA All-Rookie Second Team member Langston Galloway and Travis Wear, who started one game for the Knicks last season.
Fans looking to see on the court improvements before the season kicks off can use Hipmunk.com for flights to and from Las Vegas to take in Summer League basketball. Hotels in Las Vegas starting from $20 can be booked through Hipmunk as well.
The Knicks play the San Antonio Spurs on July 11th at 4:30 pm ET, the Los Angeles Lakers on July 13th at 8:30 pm ET and the Philadelphia 76ers on July 14th at 5:30 pm ET. All three games are being played at the Thomas & Mack Center, home of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.
Porzingis drew a lot of boo chants on draft night, as the stigma of early-round draft picks from overseas does not have a strong, positive history. Porzingis shot up the draft boards in workouts where the 6’11” forward was fluid running up and down the floor along with having an above average shooting stroke from the three-point line. The draft-day trade that acquired Grant was universally praised by everyone covering the 2015 NBA Draft as he is most likely to have a positive impact on the team in the quickest amount of time.