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Kristaps Porzingis.

Kristaps Porzingis explains how the Knicks are different to last year

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After the opening 12 games, the New York Knicks have been one of the surprise packages so far this season.

Jeff Hornacek's men currently own a 7-5 record and have secured some impressive wins.

Last year, the Knicks made an 11-9 start to the campaign but things went horribly wrong after that and were one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, winning a total of 31 games.

The main reason for their strong start this time around has been the form of star player Kristaps Porzingis.

After becoming the team's go-to guy following Carmelo Anthony's trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Latvian has elevated his game to a new level.

He's currently second in the league in scoring, averaging a career-high 30.1 points per game, along with 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.

But despite his stunning performances, the 22-year-old is not willing to take all the credit and has identified several key differences in comparison to last year's team.

Phoenix Suns v New York Knicks

"That whole first part of the season we were playing well above .500 and we played off of our talent, just based on our energy. And we really didn’t have the fundamentals," Porzingis told ESPN's Ian Begley. "I felt we really didn’t have the fundamentals as a team."

Last season, former president Phil Jackson put together an unbalanced roster consisting of former All-Stars that were always going to struggle to complement each other.

Adding ball-dominant point guard Derrick Rose to the same team as Carmelo was always going to mean fewer touches for other players and it had an effect on Porzingis.

The Knicks had the talent, but the application and effort on both ends of the floor were clearly lacking which led to a poor and dysfunctional campaign.

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers

With Rose and Melo gone, New York now has players who are placing more emphasis on moving the ball and defending as a team. Porzingis sees this as another major difference so far this year.

"This year the difference is we try to play hard defence for 48 minutes, we never give up," he said.

"We're getting a lot of assists as a team; we're playing together, we're sharing the ball. And then everybody is involved and everybody's dangerous. I think we have a better connection this year as a team."

Sacramento Kings v New York Knicks

Their biggest win of the season so far came against the Cleveland Cavaliers after they stunned LeBron James and co. with a 19-point rout at Quicken Loans Arena.

The two teams meet again tonight and they'll be hoping for the same outcome in front of their raucous crowd at Madison Square Garden.

Topics:
NBA
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Carmelo Anthony
New York Knicks
Kristaps Porzingis

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