October 20, 2017 | 12:02 pm EDT Update
Carmelo Anthony tried to groom Kristaps Porzingis the past two years, knowing that he someday would replace him as the Knicks’ franchise player. Now that he has, Anthony called it “a big, big year” for Porzingis and had some advice. “You’re there. You’re the unicorn. You’ve got to embrace it,” Anthony said. “You’ve got to understand what it’s about, what’s going to happen, whether good or bad, and be ready for it.”
In Livingston, the Warriors have found an ideal backup for Stephen Curry. Playing behind a two-time NBA MVP allows Livingston to keep his minutes manageable. On a team loaded with three-point shooters, his penchant for post-ups adds variety to head coach Steve Kerr’s movement-heavy system. Livingston’s diverse NBA experience makes him a worthy sounding board for younger players. “He’s one of my favorite people I’ve ever been around,” Kerr said. “He’s just got an incredible presence about him. He’s sharp, he’s wise, he’s competitive. But most of all, he just gets it.”
More than a decade has passed since Livingston became infamous on YouTube for one of the most gruesome knee injuries in the history of professional sports. Now an essential reserve for the defending NBA champion Warriors, he finds himself empathizing with Hayward, who will probably miss the rest of the season with a fractured left tibia. “It’s the not-knowing that’s the worst part,” Livingston said. “He doesn’t know how long it’s really going to take to come back. He doesn’t know if he’s going to be the same player. He doesn’t know. … And that fear of the unknown, it just brings you down. It casts a cloud over your future.”
October 20, 2017 | 9:31 am EDT Update
“Just mutual respect,” James said of Thomas. “Seeing him in all-star games, always talked to him, always kind of got a good feel for him, always respected what he did. I watched him when he was at (the University of) Washington and when we competed against each other I always kind of like acknowledged him and his ability to play the game.