NY Knicks: Top 5 end of the bench fan favorites since 2010

Ron Baker, signed by Steve Mills (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Ron Baker, signed by Steve Mills (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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Nov 30, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas (91) during a game at Target Center. The Knicks defeated the Timberwolves 106-104. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Knicks end-of-bench favorites: Mindaugas Kuzminskas

Kuz was an intriguing flash in the pan for the blue and orange over the last decade, and might very well be the most talented player on this list.

Before joining New York, Mindaugas Kuzminskas played 6 years in the Euro League, three years for Zalgiris in Lithuania, and another three years for Unicaja in Spain. He averaged modest numbers in both stops, but received the bulk of his playing time with Unicaja, averaging over 20 minutes a game in each of his last two seasons there.

He came from an athletic family, as his father excelled at table tennis (definitely counts as a sport!). His mother was a professional basketball player in her own right, proving that Mindy’s apple did not fall far from the maternal tree.

Kuzminksas’ career high in points was 19, which came in March 2017 in a road game against the San Antonio Spurs. In that contest, he drained three 3-pointers, and went 8-12 overall from the field.

He wasn’t a difference maker by any means, considering he only played 1 full season in the NBA, but the guy had some ability. In the pace-and-space era of basketball we find ourselves in, Kuzminskas had three-point range, good size at 6’9” and could handle the ball adequately against a scrambling defense. He was not ever going to be able to create his own shot, but as a floor spacer coming off the bench, it felt like we were somewhat cheated out of seeing what he could become after the 2016-2017 season.

To make the pill even more difficult to swallow, “Cheese”, as he was affectionately known, was waived in November 2017 to make room for the prized free agent acquisition of that offseason…Joakim Noah. We could’ve had another full season of wide smiles, three point shooting, and evident versatility, but it was not meant to be.