The offseason entailed much upheaval for the New York Knicks that saw plenty of movement across the roster that was highlighted by the trade of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
This has immediately put rising star forward Kristaps Porzingis in the positions to become the next face of the franchise. The two will get their first matchup against each other on opposing teams in the season opener on Thursday night, which is something that Porzingis can’t wait to do, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.
“For myself, I wanted him to stay [in New York], and to play with him and learn from him and so on,” Porzingis said Tuesday. “But from the other side, I understand that he needed a new challenge in his career and he wants to win a championship one day, so I’m happy for him. He’s in an environment where he might be able to do that soon.”
The strong bond between Anthony and Porzingis is well-documented as each both shared a mutual respect for each other on and off the court. In fact, the 2014 third overall pick has called the 10-time All-Star his biggest influence and mentor up to this point in his brief NBA career.
It should set the table for an entertaining matchup between the two on Thursday night with there being much intensity each player gets the ball. Although Anthony won’t be the focal point of the offense for the Thunder, he will certainly command a sizable chunk of the offensive responsibility.
Meanwhile, the Knicks are expected to run the bulk of their offense through Porzingis, which could result in a heavy dosage of the individual matchup between the two players. Ultimately, it should help make for an entertaining season opener with the added bonus of a head-to-head matchup on both ends of the floor between them.