Bobby Portis not concerned about New York’s frontcourt logjam
Developing Mitchell Robinson, one of the most unique athletes in the NBA, should be a top priority for the New York Knicks. Kevin Knox needs just as much attention, and will ideally grow into a perfect power forward for the modern game. Bringing in Julius Randle after missing out on the league’s top free agents made sense, and so did adding a stalwart veteran voice like Taj Gibson’s to the mix.
But signing Bobby Portis seemed like an overpay, especially given the Knicks’ sudden logjam up front. Poaching Marcus Morris, best utilized at power forward, from the San Antonio Spurs for a $15 million rental made an existing problem worse.
All of which begs a looming question: Just how is New York coach David Fizdale supposed to keep everyone happy while juggling the dual necessities of player development and putting a competitive team on the floor? That’s unclear at this point, but Portis, for one, isn’t concerned about potential pitfalls of his new team’s roster imbalance.
“I’m really excited, man. Going into the season, I think you need three, four, five frontcourt players that can be interchangeable,” he said, per Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. “The season is obviously a long haul and things happen; players get hurt and this and that. Over the course of a long season, you need depth. I think we have a lot of depth on this team, at every position.”
There’s no denying the importance of depth. The regular season grind always takes its toll.
Still, Fizdale has a difficult task ahead of him. There’s nothing more important to the Knicks than the development, at the right positions and in the right lineup cominations, of Robinson, Knox, and No. 3 overall pick R.J. Barrett, who slots in best at small forward due to his size and relative lack of foot speed on defense. But Randle and Morris deserve minutes, and are both better playing down in the lineup, while Portis and Gibson expect meaningful playing time and bring helpful traits to the table, too.
The numbers crunch in New York’s front court can’t be ignored. It will be instructive of his team’s goals to see how Fizdale manages it.