Willy Hernangomez added to the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend

By Mac Josephson
Feb. 15, 2017

The Knicks will have two participants in Friday night's Rising Stars Challenge Game. Kristaps Porzingis was originally named to the World Roster and today teammate Willy Hernangomez was announced as a replacement for the Nugget's Emmanuel Mudiay. Willy was definitely snubbed from the game to begin with so it was nice to see him get recognized for his terrific rookie season. 

It will be a fun sight to see the future front court of the Knicks represented on a national stage in Friday night's game. Last season KP put on a show in the exhibition of the best rookies and sophomores scoring 30 points. KP will also be involved in the Skills Challenge at All-Star Saturday night competing as one of the four big men. Along with Carmelo Anthony he's a candidate to play in the big game Sunday night as a replacement for the injured Kevin Love. There might be more deserving candidates, but given that KP will already be in New Orleans he could get the nod. If not I'm sure we'll see KP in the game next year and for many years to come. 

For Willy Friday night will be a showcase for him to show the rest of the NBA he's one of the top rookies and young bigs in the league. With the injuries and inconsistent play from Joakim Noah Willy has earned more playing time of late and has taken full advantage of it. In the month of February Willy is averaging 11.5 ppg and 9.3 rebounds in six games. The more he has played the better he has been as he has cemented a spot in the rotation every game with his performance. Despite what has been a brutal past six weeks for the team the growth of Willy has to give Knick fans high hopes for the future with Willy (22) and KP (21) playing at such a high level so young in their careers. 

Other notes:

The Charles Oakley/James Dolan saga took a step at being resolved Monday after a meeting took place at NBA headquarters with the two and Commissioner Adam Silver. Coming off the heels of last Wednesday's incident Commissioner Silver felt the need to get involved after Dolan's announcement on Friday that Oakley was indefinitely banned from the Garden. With Oakley's close friend Michael Jordan joining the meeting through telephone it sounds like the situation took a step in the right direction. Dolan apparently apologized to Oakley for last week's events and seemingly put an end to the indefinite ban which lasted only three days. 

This was a good job by Silver and the NBA to step in and try to resolve something. It's clear that this was a really bad look for the Knicks and the NBA as a whole and something that had to be addressed before All-Star weekend. Despite the "apology" from both sides don't expect Oakley at the Garden for a Knicks' game anytime soon. Oakley said in an interview after the meeting that he was still hurt by Dolan's words and it's going to take him some time before he accepts any invitation from Dolan to return to MSG. 

“Some things don’t just walk away,” said Oakley. “A dog got a broken leg, he ain’t just going to walk away. He going to try to get himself together.” 

What really upset Charles was Dolan implying that Oakley had a problem and that he needed help. His interview with Michael Kay and the Knicks' statement following his arrest made it seem like Oakley was a raging alcoholic or somebody who's mentally unstable. The apology from Dolan was the right move and a good start, but you can't blame Oakley for still being hurt by what went down last week.