New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis' defense will be tested when they go up against the Oklahoma City Thunder in their Thursday season-opener. Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that the 7-foot-3 Porzingis will be matched up against former teammate, 6-foot-8 Carmelo Anthony. While Porzingis has the height advantage over Anthony, the veteran forward has the speed and craftiness to go around his former teammate. Porzingis acknowledged that he will have a tough time against Anthony, due to his experience. The Latvian is also anticipating that Anthony will go all-out against his former team to make them regret trading him to the Thunder in the offseason.

However, Porzingis said he’s familiar with some of Anthony’s moves as he watched him play and practice during his first two years with the franchise. The Knicks traded Anthony to the Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick.

Hornacek confident that Porzingis can guard Anthony

While Anthony is tough to guard in a one-on-one situation, Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek believes that Porzingis can shut the 10-time All-Star down. "So he knows his game. So Carmelo knows his. It’s going to be a good battle,” said Hornacek. In his six-plus years in New York, Anthony led the Knicks to the playoffs during the 2012-13 season but never made the postseason after that. Anthony, a 10-time All-Star with the Denver Nuggets and the Knicks, averaged 22.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season but New York missed the playoffs with a 31-51 mark.

In his 13-year NBA career, he averaged 24.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists.

Ugly divorce between Knicks, Anthony

Before his trade to the Thunder, Anthony expressed a willingness to waive his no-trade clause only for the Houston Rockets, where he wanted to join close friend Chris Paul. Initially, Anthony mentioned the Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers but he removed the latter as a preferred trade destination after Kyrie Irving’s trade demand went public.

When the Knicks failed to reach an agreement with the Rockets, the front office asked Anthony to provide them with at least two more teams. Anthony then picked the Thunder and restored the Cavaliers on his list of preferred landing spots. When asked about Anthony’s trade, Porzingis said he’s happy for Anthony that he can have a fresh start with the Thunder. Earlier, Porzingis said he wanted the Knicks to keep Anthony but the front office was determined to clean the slate and build on their young talent moving forward.