Understanding just how extravagant the change in culture the New York Knicks experienced this last year is perfectly described by Bobby Portisâ€™s experience with the organization two years ago.
This past season, the Knicks secured the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, led by a new head coach Tom Thibodeau and an excellent defensive squad. While the roster had its fair share of deficiencies, an intense work rate and extra effort bolstered a team of mainly average players. Julius Randle matters to take a mind-blowing step forward in his development, and RJ Barrett became a sufficient complement to the veteran power forward.
With the team moving in a positive direction, Portisâ€™s comments should brew optimism, considering what he endured during his single season in the Big Apple. After his one-year contract expired, the Knicks rejected his player option and offered him a lesser deal, forcing him to look elsewhere for work and an adequate paycheck. Ultimately, he landed with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he revitalized his career and became part of something special.
â€œThe Knicks turned my option down and they offered me another deal, but I didnâ€™t really know if it was going to be a good situation for me,â€Â Portis said.
â€œThe year prior, it wasnâ€™t a good situation for me at all. It just wasnâ€™t a culture I was used to,â€ he added.
Clearly, the decision for Portis to move on ended up being a good one, as Milwaukee is currently in the NBA Finals, battling to gain a series lead after tying it 2-2 apiece on Wednesday evening.
â€œI just wanted to go to a winning culture and where I felt like I can fit in with guys,â€ he said.
With Portis’s contract ready to expire after this season, there is a possibility the Knicks could talk to him as a potential option down low in the paint. Over 66 games this year, the 25-year-old veteran averaged 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and shot 52% from the field. He was even adequate from range, hitting on 47% of his 2.4 attempts per contest.
While it is unlikely Bobby ends up back in New York, his interview shined an obvious light on the change in culture the Knicks have experienced since adding Thibs and Leon Rose. With funds and draft capital available, hopefully, the front office can knock this off-season out of the park, taking another significant step forward in their quest for success.