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Knicks plan to start Kristaps Porzingis at power forward opening night

Paschoalotto Bauru Knicks Basketball

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis, left, fouls Paschoalotto Bauru’s Rafael Hettsheimeir on a shot during the first quarter of a preseason exhibition basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)


The Knicks liked Kristaps Porzingis enough to draft him No. 4 overall.

They liked his summer performance.

And after a relatively pedestrian preseason, they still like him.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News on New York coach Derek Fisher:

Fisher started preseason with Porzingis as the starting power forward, and, as of Saturday, the coach hadn’t hedged — “we like him there,” he said.

Marc Berman of the New York Post

Fisher wants Porzingis to be the starting power forward opening night

If Porzingis has earned the starting power forward spot, that bodes well for his future. He’s just 20, so if he’s already better than his intra-team competition, he’s further along than I thought he’d be.

The Knicks have other options, including Kyle O’Quinn or starting another wing and sliding Carmelo Anthony down to power forward.

But it’s also possible New York is just starting Porzingis to aid his development – which is OK. However, one of the biggest benefits to that strategy is getting a higher draft pick. The Knicks already traded their 2016 first-rounder.

Porzingis, a knockdown shooter with impressive hops, projects to play well in the years ahead. But his thin frame could limit him – and New York’s playoff chances – in the short term.

If he gets pushed around, will the Knicks bring him off the bench? Porzingis starting provides a clue about his development and New York’s plan.

If he responds well, great. He and the Knicks would be in great shape.

But if he doesn’t, we’ll learn a lot more about how New York values the present vs. the future.