Now it appears a near certainty. Saturday against the Spurs, Hernangomez had a career-high 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds in the 106-98 loss. “He’s getting better and better every game,’’ Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “The experience against this team with LaMarcus [Aldridge], [Dewayne] Dedmon, Pau [Gasol], those are long, long guys. You see how smart a player he is. He didn’t try to jump over the guys and challenge them — he shot his little floaters over them.’’
Hornacek isn’t ready to hand out the center job for next season in March. Hernangomez and Porzingis could be interchangeable at the 4 and 5. The burly Hernangomez is a grittier rebounder than Porzingis and is averaging 15.4 per 36 minutes — a popular metric. “It’s probably too early,’’ Hornacek said Saturday before facing San Antonio to finish the four-game Western swing. “We still look at KP at the five sometimes, and Willy at the 4. And the way the league is going, we’re going to find one of those two guys if we play these teams that have a 6-7 4-man. “One of those two guys is going to have to guard him.’’
The Knicks expected to evaluate Noah later next week to determine if he’ll be able to return to the court this season. Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek told reporters in San Antonio on Saturday that Noah hasn’t yet started on-court work. The Knicks have nine games remaining on their schedule following Saturday’s game against the Spurs, so Noah will serve at least 11 games of the suspension next season.
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Storyline: Joakim Noah Suspension