/Sports of The Times: Zen Phil Is Gone, but All Is Not Lost for Knicks

Sports of The Times: Zen Phil Is Gone, but All Is Not Lost for Knicks

Zen Phil entered his state of Bardo (the Tibetan Buddhism transitional state between two lives here on earth) before he could, in a fit of pique, trade away Kristaps Porzingis, the 7-foot-3 pride of Liepaja, Latvia. Porzingis is a unicorn’s unicorn, a long river of a kid who can run and leap, has a soft touch near the hoop, plays underrated defense and can look smooth taking a 28-foot jumper. Carefully nourished, he is the sort whom the Knicks can build around for a decade. The Jackson Knicks handled him like a box in the cargo hold: In two seasons, he has had two coaches and played with two radically different rosters.

Might he one day become the equal of his 2015 draft mate, Karl-Anthony Towns, who had 25 points and 12 rebounds a game for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season? That is unlikely, although Porzingis remains a fluid and most unusual talent, the second best pick — and only other star — in that draft.

There is now, as well, a lottery pick point guard on the team — the intriguing Frank Ntilikina, a 6-5 French teenager with a pterodactyl’s wingspan. And the Knicks have Willy Hernangomez, the young Spanish…

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