The season is young but don’t look now the Knicks have a better record than the Thunder. Its early as the Knicks are only 11-11 and the Thunder are 10-12, granted Porzingis has missed a few games or the Knicks record would be even better. But still many believed before the season that the Thunder won this trade by a landslide.
Just to recap the trade was Carmelo Anthony for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2nd-round pick, which was from the Bulls. Really the Kanter part of the trade was to match salaries, while the only value pieces are the pick and McDermott and even McDermott was a question mark as he has been traded for a second time in 2 seasons. A very shaky deal for the Knicks on paper.
What we have learned so far?
Enes Kanter has really fit in with the Knicks, averaging 14.3PPG and 10.7RPG, leading the team in rebounding. The best signs have been is success playing next to Porzingis. The two have really worked well together. Right now Porzings is not a big paint scorer or rebounder, which are the two best qualities for Kanter. The match has been perfect. It has even kept Hernangomez on the bench, rarely leaving his seat.
Doug McDermott may not be a great piece but his activity with the second unit has really helped the Knicks. His ability to space the floor with his 41% shooting from the 3-point line, gives the Knicks some versatility to play smaller lineups and gives them another wing player off the bench. He may never become a starter but a serviceable bench player.
The best asset from this trade has to be the 2nd-round pick from the Bulls. With the Bulls tanking this year, that pick will be very high maybe even the 1st one of the second round, which is not bad because you could potentially get a 1st round player that dropped into the second round. It is more valuable with each loss by the Bulls.
For the Thunder, they are learning the hard truth that Melo does not bring much else besides scoring. It has been a tough transition trying to get all the pieces to work out. Knick fans have to be thrilled that the Thunder took Melo of their hands. He is averaging career lows in points, rebounds and field goal percentage, while still getting nearly 17 shots a game. Sure, it was expected for his numbers to come down with players like Westbrook and Paul George on the team but the scary part is that the Thunder are a better team with Melo on the bench.
It’s still very early in the season but all signs point to the Knicks winning this trade, as the Thunder probably are wishing they had Kanter’s bench scoring and McDermott’s ability to space the floor. Not to mention the trade has un-locked Porzingis’s ascension to super-star status, which is the biggest win from this trade. The Thunder are learning the hard truth, Melo is who we thought he was, an outdated scorer that does not bring much else to the party. For what was considered a salary dump to get rid of Melo, has turned into a few nice pieces for the Knicks and the code to unlock “the unicorn”.