The biggest building block of the New York Knicks went down with an injury Tuesday night and the outlook is not good. Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks brightest young star was less than two weeks from making his first National Basketball Association All-Star game when he went to the floor after a crowd-pleasing dunk over the Milwaukee Bucks best player Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Madison Square Garden crowd cheered wildly before realizing something was not right with Porzingis who held his left knee while still on the floor. The 7’3” Center was unable to put weight on the leg while being helped to the locker room.
Porzingis, who has averaged 22.7 points while leading the NBA in blocks with 2.4 per contest was diagnosed with an ACL tear that will cost him not only the rest of this season but possibly a significant part of next season also.
Knicks guard Courtney Lee said that he was able to speak with Porzingis Tuesday night and that the young basketball player was in good spirits considering the turn of events. Lee also said that Porzingis has accepted the “new journey” he must now take and is “ready for it.”
Scott Perry, the Knicks General Manager says that the organization is extremely disappointed but with situations like the one that occurred with Porzingis you think of the young person first. Teammate Enes Kanter echoed Perry’s sentiments on the personal nature of the injury and said of Porzingis “he’s my brother.”
In the immediate aftermath of the Porzingis injury, the Knicks are expected to change their approach to a looming trade deadline. With a healthy roster, the team was fully expecting to make a viable run at the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. But without Porzingis for the remainder of the season, the team is forced to think of preparing for a stronger 2018 season.
Reports are already surfacing in regards to the Knicks seeking to trade for young players and future draft picks before the deadline on Thursday. The team made its first move on Wednesday with the trade of backup center Willy Hernangomez to Charlotte for two future draft picks.
The team is also expected to adjust its rotation to reflect its new youth moment also. The biggest beneficiaries of this approach will likely be Frank Ntilikina and Trey Burke, two young players that will more than likely see a great increase in time on the court.