Did Knicks and Pacers win the Melo and PG-13 trades with OKC?
If you were designing a frontcourt partner for Enes Kanter in the lab, he'd probably look a lot like Kristaps Porzingis: capable of spacing the floor to give Kanter room to finish as well as helping him out with rim protection. Nobody in the NBA does both of those things better than Porzingis, so it's no surprise that Kanter shoots far more accurately (66.7 percent vs. 56.4 percent), and the Knicks are more successful (plus-2.6 net rating vs. minus-8.0, per NBA.com/Stats) when he plays with Porzingis.
Now, the Kanter-Porzingis partnership may not continue to be quite so effective. According to Second Spectrum data, Kanter's shot quality is little better when he plays with Porzingis, and overall the quantified quality of his shots this season is almost identical to his 2015-16 campaign in Oklahoma City -- when Kanter shot 57.6 percent as compared to his current 64.3 percent accuracy.
It's also true that a lot of centers could fill that role opposite Porzingis because of the latter's unique skills. That group probably includes New York backup Willy Hernangomez, who has been buried in the rotation behind Kanter and veteran Kyle O'Quinn after a strong rookie season. So Kanter may not be a huge upgrade for the Knicks.
The other player New York got (reserve forward Doug McDermott) is shooting a career-high 53.8 percent on 2-point attempts, but his value remains limited because of his defensive shortcomings. McDermott's minus-1.7 rating in RPM ranks 67th among small forwards.
In the long run, the most valuable piece the Knicks got from the Thunder might prove to be Chicago's 2018 second-round pick. With the Bulls a league-worst 3-18, that pick would be No. 31 overall if the season ended today.
Despite the pick, the most important aspect of trading Anthony for New York was the ability to turn over the reins of the offense to Porzingis, who has pushed his usage rate from 24.3 percent of the Knicks' plays to 34.2 percent -- second-highest in the league behind James Harden. Like Oladipo, Porzingis has managed to simultaneously improve his efficiency and his volume, confirming him as one of the league's best scorers.
New verdict: Indiana and New York did well with trades
I panned both the trades made with the Thunder this summer, grading the Pacers' return a D-minus and the Knicks' package a C-minus. It has quickly become clear I was wrong about both deals.
I don't know that I misjudged the players the Knicks got for Anthony so much as I underestimated the value of turning the page on the Melo era at MSG. Certainly, what New York got in return was better than simply buying Anthony out -- particularly given how promising the second-round pick from Chicago looked before the season. I would probably give the Knicks a straight B in regrading the trade.
So my new assessment is, far from being fleeced, the Knicks and Pacers did well to get what they did from the Thunder.