The Knicks' return in the Kristaps Porzingis trade didn't feel like the best package they could have gotten for the 7-foot-3 All-Star. DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews are expiring contracts that New York may want to trade or waive outright, and the two future first-rounders will come in a couple years.
So the only true return that will impact the Knicks immediately will be 21-year-old PG Dennis Smith Jr., who the Mavericks have been shopping prior to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
Many Knicks fans will remember Smith being a top candidate to take two years ago with the eighth overall pick, but Phil Jackson's regime decided to go with Frank Ntilikina instead. Smith was taken with the ninth overall pick by Dallas right after Ntilikina.
Now the two youngsters will be teammates and battling for playing time on David Fizdale's roster. So what can we expect from Smith as part of this lowly Knicks squad now? Let's break it down...
Unlike Ntilikina, Smith is better skilled on the offensive side of the ball, and that has been his claim to fame since his days at N.C. State. Smith's natural athleticism (which we'll touch on more in a little bit) makes him tough to guard due to his explosive first step, and ability to stop on a dime.
Smith also has a jumper and it has improved this season, shooting 34.4 percent from beyond the arc compared to 31.3 in his rookie season last year. Combine that with his ability to get to the rim with speed and agility, Smith is enjoying a 44 percent field goal percentage from the field this season despite being less involved on the offensive end in Dallas.
With Tim Hardaway Jr. -- one of the Knicks' more consistent scorers -- dealt away, Smith may be asked by Fizdale to pick up the slack on the offensive end despite the team being dead last in assists this season.
Jump out the gym
There's a reason Smith, all 6-foot-3 of him, will be in the Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend for the second straight year: He can fly on the court.
Smith has insane, natural hops that he isn't afraid to showcase on any defender no matter their height. Take Pelicans F Julius Randle for example...
This jumping ability is a main reason why Smith plays so aggressive, and that's exactly what Fizdale is looking for in his lineup. Knicks fans may not be seeing more winning anytime soon, but with Smith on the court, a poster is always in the cards.
Needs to improve on D
As noted before, Ntilikina has Smith beat in the defense department. Despite his athleticism, Smith tends to be a tad lackluster when transitioning to defense. He doesn't always show the same intensity on that side of the ball compared to offense, and that stems back to his college days as well.
Fighting through screens, closing out on shooters, and matching the overall energy he has on the offensive side is what Fizdale will hope to instill in Smith because his natural abilities could make him an all-around stud on both ends of the floor.