Jarrett Jack is the only Knick with a non-guaranteed deal, but he’s making it very easy for the team to keep him.
They will have to do something soon to create a roster spot. The Knicks have been able to carry an extra player on the roster because Joakim Noah is on the suspended list. Management could try to trade someone for a draft pick or do a two-for-one deal to keep Jack before Noah comes off in two weeks.
Jack has started at point guard the last three games, and his calming influence on the court has helped the Knicks to three straight wins. He had 10 assists in the Knicks’ 116-110 win over the Nuggets at the Garden Monday night and has 24 assists and five turnovers in his three games as a starter.
“When things get crazy, he can get us into something and he kind of guides us too,” Jeff Hornacek said. “He’s a thinking point guard. If some guy hasn’t had a shot in a while, he’s going to figure out a way to get him the ball. If somebody’s hot, he’s going to figure out a way to give him the ball. He’s just a good team leader that way.”
The Knicks signed Ramon Sessions to mentor Frank Ntilikina, and Sessions started the first three games at point guard. The Knicks struggled offensively, so Hornacek inserted Jack, 34. Now he is trying to prove he should stick and that he can still play after blowing out his knee as a Net nearly two years ago.
“It keeps you on your toes,” Jack said. “It forces you to stay sharp knowing that you can’t take any day, any situation for granted. You stay locked in. It’s the situation. It’s the cards that you’re dealt, and you got to make the best of it. It’s not a bad gig regardless of if you’re in here one day or however many days that they allow you to be here.”
Team president Steve Mills seems confident that he will find a way to keep Jack. “We’ll figure that out,” he said. “We still have a little time. We’ll see how it plays out. Jarrett’s doing a good job for us, so we’ll work through that.”
Using his size
Kristaps Porzingis has learned to use his height to his advantage. During his first two seasons, teams would put smaller players on the 7-3 Porzingis and affect him by leaning and resting all their weight on his legs. But he has gotten stronger and has learned to turn and shoot over them.
“I’m more comfortable, more confident,” said Porzingis, who is averaging 29.3 points per game after scoring 38 against the Nuggets. “I’ve worked on those shots and I’m trying to keep it simple for myself. Face-up, if he’s all over me, a little jab, get him off and I can shoot over him.”
Faces in the crowd
Mets manager Mickey Callaway sat courtside for Monday’s game, as did the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard and former Met and Yankee Darryl Strawberry.