Westchester Knicks Season Review: Mid-season sensations

New York Knicks John Jenkins (Photo by Allison Farrand/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks John Jenkins (Photo by Allison Farrand/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Five Westchester Knicks that finished the season with the team played less than 20 games. How did those players perform during the 2016-17 season?

During the 2016-17 season, 26 players suited up for the Westchester Knicks. Out of those 26 players, 13 finished the season with the team and eight of them played in the team’s season finale against the Long Island Nets.

Out of the 13 that finished the season with Westchester, five of those players played less than 20 games. Each player contributed to the team in their own right.

On Feb. 3, 2017, John Jenkins was acquired by the Westchester Knicks after spending the previous five years with the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns. Four days after being acquired, Jenkins made his debut against the Sioux Falls Skyforce. In that game, he recorded 24 points, three rebounds, three assists, and three steals on 8-of-18 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Despite the lack of playing time over the past year, John Jenkins continued to be aggressive and get his teammate involved.

“It’s been tough. It hasn’t been easy,” John Jenkins said in February of 2017. “I haven’t played this many minutes in probably in over a year. Three times playing 30 minutes. It’s been a long time coming, so I just tried to be aggressive and get my teammates involved early and make it easier on me down the stretch.”

The last time Jenkins played 30 or more minutes was on Oct. 29, 2015 as a Dallas Maverick.

In his first several games with the team, John Jenkins stayed aggressive and made an impact on the team. He scored 20-plus points in five of his first six outings and shot 50.0 percent from deep in his first four games.

On Mar. 14, 2017— almost two years to the date after Doron Lamb scored a franchise-high 40 points— John Jenkins totaled 40 points on 15-of-30 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 from 3-point range against the Long Island Nets.

The Vanderbilt product continued to have dominant games following his 40-point performance. He recorded 28 points against the Long Island Nets and 26 points against the Erie BayHawks. In the following game, Jenkins had his most efficient shooting game of the season.

Not only did he nearly reach the 40-point mark again, but the NBA veteran was on fire from 3-point range. Jenkins shot 14-of-21 from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc.

In 16 games, Jenkins averaged 20.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on 45.7 percent shooting from the field in 34.5 minutes per game. The 6-foot-4 guard participated in the NBA G League Elite Mini Camp. Jenkins was a part of a group of players that were invited to the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors free agent mini-camp.

On Mar. 2, 2017, the Westchester Knicks acquired Nikola Jovanovic from the Grand Rapids Drive in exchange for the Knicks’ second round pick in the 2017 NBA G League Draft.

Jovanovic had a dominant start early on in his NBA G League career. He recorded three straight double-doubles and the Grand Rapids Drive went 2-1 in those games. The early success the USC product was attributed to the match-ups he had early in his professional career.

“I had really good match-ups with [Andre] Drummond, Boban Marjanovic, and Aron Baynes and I feel like over there over like two and a half months and improved a lot,” Nikola Jovanovic said in March of 2017. “I was playing well. I was playing my game. I just got hurt after those three games; like the guy fell on my knee and I sprained my MCL, so I had a break for a month and half, which I never had. I never missed any game in my college career and before that never got hurt. I got back and now I’m feeling 100 percent and just waiting on my opportunity.”

After seeing his playing time decrease, Nikola Jovanovic was traded to Westchester and he felt the trade was best for him.

“Over there [in Grand Rapids] for some reason, I wasn’t getting the right opportunity I was supposed to,” Jovanovic said. “My representation made the move and I got traded here [to the Westchester Knicks] and I’ve been having a great time here. Coach [Miller] is amazing [and] the players too. Everything is great. We’re in New York. Really great organization, so I’m really happy about it.”

In his short stint with Westchester, Jovanovic had many productive games where he had the opportunity to score and have a presence on the glass. With injuries affecting the team, the 6-foot-11 forward finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in 22 minutes off the bench.

He closed out the season on a high note by recording two double-doubles in the final three games of the season. On the final game of the season, Jovanovic totaled 22 points and 14 rebounds on a near-perfect 9-of-11 shooting from the field.

In 12 games with Westchester, Jovanovic averaged 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds on 45.7 percent shooting from the field in 17.1 minutes per game. He recorded six double-doubles during the season, with two of those as a Westchester Knick.

Following the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, the USC product was invited to the NBA G League Elite Mini Camp. He received a Summer League invite and competed with the Chicago Bulls in the Las Vegas Summer League.

After helping lead Cairns Taipans to the NBL playoffs in Australia and winning the club’s MVP honor, Travis Trice returned to the Westchester Knicks. While he played in a few games in his second stint with the team, Trice was able to showcase the improvements he made in his game.

When Trice arrived in Westchester, the team added another facilitator to the line-up. Along with his ability to run the offense, he improved on his 3-point shooting, which allowed him to play off the ball as well. By playing next to a scorer like Chasson Randle, both players were able to get good looks from 3-point range. Travis Trice finished 26 points and eight assists, while Randle tallied 10 assists, in their meeting against the Canton Charge.

In the team’s next outing against the Grand Rapids Drive, Trice displayed his most efficient shooting 3-point performance of the season. He drained threes off screens, got into the lane with contact, and created plays for the team. The Michigan State product finished with 30 points and six assists on 4-of-6 shooting from deep

Compared to his first stint where he shot 33.5 percent from 3-point range, Trice improved that part of his game by shooting 51.6 percent from beyond the arc.

During his time with the Dub Knicks, he had the opportunity to play against guards who had NBA experience.

“[Tim] Quarterman is an NBA guard,” Westchester Knicks head coach Mike Miller said. “He’s here on assignment. He’s been there the whole time. It’s not like he just showed up to play. He’s been there, so he’s ingrained in what they’re doing, so he got to play against an NBA guard. He played against Lorenzo Brown and Ray McCallum and Kevin Murphy. All that have been in the NBA.”

In nine games, Trice averaged 21.1 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.6 rebounds on 44.8 percent shooting from the field and 51.6 percent from deep in 35.5 minutes per game.

After the season, the Michigan State product was invited to the Detroit Pistons free agent mini-camp. Trice competed with the Milwaukee Bucks in the Las Vegas Summer League. On July 1, it was reported that Travis Trice signed with the Brisbane Bullets in Australia’s NBL, per David Pick, but also has an NBA out in his contract.

Late in the season, the Westchester Knicks had several players suffer injuries. With the injuries, the team added Jarelle Reischel from the available player pool and reacquired Max Hooper.

Prior to joining Westchester, Reischel played in one game for SC Rasta Vechta of the German BB. In the final game of the season, the 6-foot-7 forward had an opportunity to showcase what he could do and showed that he should return next season.

Despite playing in two games, Reischel is looking to improve his overall game heading into next season.

“Just my overall game,” Jarelle Reischel said in April of 2017. Everything, I think. [I am] trying to improve very hard in the summer. Really dedicate myself to my work over the summer time and just come out and play a full D-League [now NBA G League] season next year and hopefully make an impact in the league.”

In two games, Reischel averaged 3.5 points in 18.3 minutes per game.

Max Hooper was the team’s first-round selection (16th overall) in the 2016 NBA G League Draft. He played in eight minutes in the season opener against the Delaware 87ers. Hooper was released after playing in one game with the team.

Due to the injuries the team had, the Knicks reacquired the Carmel Valley, CA native for the last game of the season. In two games, Hooper averaged 1.5 points in 9.2 minutes per game.

Must Read: Westchester Knicks: Top 10 plays of 2016-17 season

The Westchester Knicks saw many the roster change throughout the season. The Knicks added players from the available player pool, had a player return to the team after successful stint in Australia, and reacquired their 2016 NBA G League first-round pick.

Overall, each one of the five players found success with the Westchester Knicks in the 2016-17 season.