The New York Knicks had a strong start to their offseason by adding a much-needed point guard to their ranks in the shape of Derrick Rose.
The former Chicago Bulls man and 2011 Most Valuable Player moved to Madison Square Garden in exchange for Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant and Robin Lopez. Furthermore, the agreements that have been made during free agency hint to a much brighter future for the organisation.
Their starting five already looks strong with Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, and new head coach Jeff Hornacek is hoping the 'big three' can take some of the pressure off of the supporting cast in the Big Apple.
He said: “Hopefully the way our roster is shaping up, with those three guys, that we always have two of those guys on the court. It will take the pressure off of bench guys to make an open shot. You’re not going to be a real focus necessarily.
"So that always makes it easier for these guys to feel comfortable out there. If you’re trying to sub five guys in and have five bench guys as a group, it’ll probably be more difficult.”
One role where the franchise is still looking for strength is a backup at the point. There are a number of players on the market, but Hornacek is very specific about the type of option he is looking for and believes the position is one of the hardest to fill in the league.
“That’s one of the toughest positions to fill in the NBA," he said. "There’s a lot of backups, but you’re always looking for, ‘Can that backup step right into the starter’s role if something happens to your starter?’ There’s not many of those guys out there that can do that. We got our eyes on a couple that can do that. That’s what we’ll probably aim for.”
Talk of new additions is very quiet until the moratorium period ends on July 7, but the former Phoenix Suns head coach has had a chance to examine the players who are committed for next season, and one man he has been impressed with is the Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis.
“I knew he was a decent shooter,” he said. “But he’s a really good shooter. You know looking at him in the gym, his stroke, how easy he does it; then his ability things that the guys are working on him with his drives to the basket, his post-up game — he’s going to be a great player.”
The European talent has been working hard over the summer on his strength and shooting. His main point of emphasis was lower body and core strength - adding five pounds during the summer. He has also worked continually on shooting drills. Kristaps is primed to have another strong season.