The 7-Foot Question at the Heart of the Knicks’ Future

But whether the player Jackson drafts pays immediate dividends and whether Anthony — who has a no-trade clause — finally agrees to go elsewhere are both unknowns.


Porzingis, left, and Hernangomez blocking Channing Frye of the Cavaliers in February. “I think we are a big family,” Hernangomez said. “The Porzingises and the Hernangomezes.”

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

What Jackson does know is that Porzingis, 21, is a multitalented giant who in his two seasons with the Knicks has shown the ability to score from anywhere, block shots and play with flair, while Hernangomez, 22, has emerged in his one season in New York as a tough and surprisingly nimble player near the basket with the ability to grab a lot of rebounds.

The hope is that Porzingis will become the go-to player on offense on the Knicks for years to come, and that Hernangomez can become a playmaker out of the post and an asset in the pick-and-roll. For inspiration, he has been fed video of Marc Gasol, a fellow Spaniard and big man and a star with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Still, there are real questions about how Porzingis and Hernangomez will fare together on the court despite their abilities. Although the most valuable player in the N.B.A. finals was Kevin Durant, an extremely athletic and versatile 7-footer with, among other things, a deadly perimeter game, the N.B.A. is no longer a league dominated by big men, especially two of them in the same starting lineup.

Quickness can be an issue when big men are together. So can defense in a league that now emphasizes three-point shooting. In the 558 minutes that Porzingis and Hernangomez shared the floor this past season, the Knicks allowed 107.8 points per 100 possessions, which is not good. Porzingis sometimes struggled when guarding smaller, faster forwards. Hernangomez had his defensive issues, too.


There are other issues to consider as…

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