As the Westchester Knicks took on the Los Angeles D-Fenders on Tuesday night, Manny Harris may have led all scorers with 30 points, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo may have added 18 points, 6 blocks, and 4 steals, but it was Westchester forward Orlando Sanchez who stole the show.
In a coming out part of sorts for the St. John's alum, Sanchez scored 23 points (on 9 of 13 from the field), grabbed 8 rebounds, and swatted 3 blocks in the Knicks' 115-113 win over Los Angeles. Putting it simply, he looked downright dominant, taking the opposing defense to task again and again. The D-Fenders seemingly had no answers for him from the word "go."
Sanchez attacked the basket with aggression all night long, flying high for some explosive slam dunks. Obviously crashing the boards quite well, too, the forward also helped pace his team on the defensive end.
Big men are hot commodities in the NBA. If a player has ample size and stature, he's likely to find his way into The Association sooner, rather than later. But at 6'9" and 230 pounds, Sanchez isn't exactly what you would call a true "big man." Having said that, he makes up for it all in pure athleticism, not only in his lengthy frame, but also his knowledge of how to use it to his advantage. He can attack the basket, post up against a small defender, and/or even fade away to knock down the occasional mid-range jumper. Perhaps even more unique about Sanchez's game (which was especially evident against the D-Fenders) is his ability to put the ball on the floor --- the guy can run from one end of the floor to the next with ease, even with the ball in his hands from start to finish.
Such versatility isn't something you see from a player of Sanchez's build all too often. Such abilities and steady instincts would make him a solid fit for the big league club's triangle offense, which is perhaps what the Knicks' saw in him heading into NBA training camp.
But as he looks to make a name for himself in the NBA D-League, consistency will be the key for Sanchez. The dominance he displayed on Tuesday night was rather eye-opening, but he needs to prove he can be similarly assertive on a nightly basis, should an NBA team ultimately be interested in cashing in on what he has to offer ---- he has to offer exactly that, more often.