New York Knicks: One expectation for each 2019 NBA free agent signing

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

Bobby Portis: The big-man sixth man

Once the New York Knicks signed Julius Randle, it seemed their big spending on players to supplement Mitchell Robinson was over. That was until they followed with two years, $31 million for Bobby Portis, with a team option for the 2020-21 season.

Portis found his best season yet in 2018-19, averaging 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. Only 28 of his 50 appearances were starts, but those numbers flashed enough talent to start, which was his role in D.C.

For that money, and to play off the bench, it is a high price for the Knicks to pay, but usurping Randle or Robinson in the starting lineup would be a surprise.

So Portis becomes the unique, floor-spacing sixth man for New York. His 39.3 percent three-point shooting was promising and the latest in his year-over-year improvement, so if the Knicks see him as someone to provide instant offense from center or power forward, this can work as another player to open the floor.

If injuries occur, Portis can start. The same if Fizdale wants to tinker with the lineup, including using three bigs. It might not work perfectly, but if the season gets away, it is a potential experiment to try to find results.

This is a wait-and-see signing for how the Knicks use Portis. He does not upgrade them defensively, but there are ways to use his developing offensive skill set, beginning with a top role off the bench.