Knicks rookie Mindaugas Kuzminskas played a big role off the bench in the Knicks' 107-103 win over the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
The 27-year-old chipped in 10 points in 21 minutes of play off the bench, with five of those points coming in the fourth quarter. He also added three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Despite playing a different style in Europe, Kuzminskas said he is getting more acquainted with the nuances of the NBA early in his Knicks tenure.
"I need to stay on this road as I am right now, keep listening to the coach,'' Kuzminskas told reporters after the game. "The game in Europe is different. Things here I have to adjust and I've adjusted to some things. I am ready - whether it's two, five or 10 minutes."
He is now averaging 4.1 points in 10.7 minutes per contest through nine games played.
Kuzminskas, for all intents and purposes, has taken the job away from Lance Thomas. His connection with Willy Hernangomez, Brandon Jennings and Kristaps Porzingis has sparked the Knicks at the beginning of second and fourth quarters since their stumble against Utah.
Kuzminskas is an active player who can make shots and has been underrated in help defense, particularly on the roll man on pick-and-roll. When he's making shots, as he did in a big way last night, he's the glue guy the Knicks need in the worst way -- a role that Thomas struggled to fill to start the season.
It's difficult not to like what Kuzminskas brings to the table, especially in the Knicks' quickly flourishing second unit.
He's lengthy and has the potential to create mismatches. There's no doubt he shoots well from deep and spreads the floor. He's a very valuable asset alongside Porzingis. He's a nice reserve to help spell Carmelo Anthony off the bench.
Especially impressive as of late has also been his ability catch and shoot with efficiency and catch defenses off guard. He has a rapid release.