A hit dog will always holler.
And right now, the Knicks are a whiny pack of canines.
People aren’t really fond of being exposed, and that’s what LeBron James did on Saturday night when he commented on how good of a player Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. is after the Cavaliers defeated Dallas, 111-104.
“The Knicks passed on a really good one,” James said after Smith dropped 21 points, seven assists, two blocks and two steals on the Cavs. “Dallas got the diamond in the rough. He should be a Knick. That’s gonna make some headlines but he should be a Knick. Dallas is definitely excited that he didn’t go there.”
Anybody who has any grasp of how to play basketball, or has seen Smith or Knicks rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina play, knows that Smith is better.
And the numbers don’t lie.
Smith is currently averaging 14.8 points, along with 5.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds. Ntilikina is only averaging 4.4 points, five assists and 1.6 steals while shooting a lower percentage than Smith has from the field and from deep.
“I don’t know why he made those comments,” said Knicks franchise player Kristaps Porzingis. “But all I can say is we love Frank. We’re happy with him. He’s doing a great job. He’s playing great and he’s doing what he’s supposed to. I would not change Frank for anybody. Simple.”
Porzingis doesn’t realize that he’s the exception to the rule in New York and not the norm. History proves that the Knicks haven’t done well in the draft except for selecting him fourth overall in 2015.
In 2014, the Knicks selected Cleanthony Early and passed on Nikola Jokic, one of the best young players in the league who came in second place for last season’s Most Improved Player award.
In 2013, the Knicks went with Tim Hardaway Jr. at No. 24 instead of Rudy Gobert, taken three picks later. Gobert was named All-NBA Second Team and First Team All-Defense last season.
And in 2011, the Knicks decided to go with Iman Shumpert over Jimmy Butler. Instead of drafting an All-Star and an Olympic gold medalist, the Knicks drafted a role player in Shumpert who they would wind up trading away to the Cavaliers, where he has played a key role in their three-straight NBA Finals appearances.
The Knicks needed to draft a point guard last summer, and instead of doing the right thing by taking Smith Jr. they went with Ntilikina.
“But I don’t care who (it is), I just cannot let anyone disrespect my family like that,” said Enes Kanter on Sunday. Mind you, this is only Kanter’s first season in New York.
“Because when I play for an organization, I see my teammates and that organization like a family. And I don’t care. It doesn’t matter if it’s LeBron or whoever it is, I cannot just let him disrespect him like that because the coaches, the GMs, the president, this organization knows what they’re doing. So that’s why I was kind of pissed that he said that, because, I mean, come on, man. That’s a rookie. You cannot just say anything like that about him.”
James responded to Kanter and the New York media on Monday morning during shootaround before the teams face off later in the day.
“Have you seen Dennis Smith play?” James asked the media at Madison Square Garden. “Have y’all seen him play?”
“I wasn’t throwing shade at Frank at all for people that got their pants in bunches and things of that nature here in New York. They look for any controversy here.”
“I think that Deshaun Watson should be a (Cleveland) Brown. Doesn’t mean that Myles Garrett won’t be a great football player. But I think Deshaun Watson should have been our quarterback. It’s the same thing. It’s not you sh—–g on the next guy, it’s just that you’re stating what you see. That’s all that is for clarification for people that just live in a box. And for Enes Kanter that always got something to say.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with him.”
James has won seven straight at the Garden, averaging over 28 points.
Not only is Kanter wrong, but he just got under the skin of the best player in the league who usually has his way whenever he plays in MSG.
Kanter said that LeBron’s words pissed him off. But when the final buzzer sounds on Monday night, it’ll be his teammates who will be pissed at him for even opening his mouth in the first place.