Steven Adams, is that you?
The Thunder center has shaved off all his facial hair and teammate Enes Kanter revealed a picture of the new Adams on Twitter.
OK, now that the caveat is done with, we can say this: There is a lot to be excited about in this year’s rookie class coming out of Summer League play, far more than we’ve seen in recent Julys. Despite a minor ankle injury to No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz, the top picks almost to a man comported themselves nicely. And the vaunted depth of the 2017 draft seemed to be validated by some stellar showings by lower picks.
Putting Irving in a lineup with Kristaps Porzinigis sounds intriguing, particularly when you consider Irving wants to be the focal point of the offense and escape LeBron James’ shadow. Assuming Porzingis stays and Carmelo Anthony is dealt, Irving would eat up a good portion of Anthony’s volume and score more efficiently.
In terms of touches last season, Derrick Rose (78.8), Porzingis (60.5) and Anthony (60.4) led the team. Rose is now on the Cavs, and Anthony would be gone in this scenario. Irving would likely see an increase from his touches last season with the Cavs (79.0) if he did get traded to the Knicks and find more opportunities to put on those spectacular dribbling displays fans love to see. Irving was actually most efficient scoring when taking seven dribbles or more, as FiveThirtyEight’s Chris Herring noted in his breakdown of Irving as a No. 1 option.
Still, the Knicks are the Knicks. New York has made the playoffs only four times since the 2001-02 season, and it’s been an organization full of dysfunction under James Dolan, most recently culminating with the firing of Phil Jackson. If Irving wants to head to NYC, that’s fine. He shouldn’t expect to reach the NBA Finals (or the first round) every season.