In the 2015 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks selected Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick. The fans in the arena were not happy with the selection, as some of them were crying while others were laughing or booing. Scouts from all over the NBA had been witnessing Porzingis’ skills, talents, and potential, but the fans in New York were not sure about his long-term ability, durability and how his international game was going to adjust to the NBA.
Last season, in his second year in the league, Kristaps Porzingis showcased his talent and skills to a large extent as he posted impressive numbers next to Carmelo Anthony. He averaged 18.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. In the off-season, the 22-year old Latvian played in the EuroBasket competition with his national team and was one of the best players in the tournament. He averaged 23.6 points and 5.9 rebounds and led Latvia to the top-8 teams in Europe. After Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder later on this off-season, Kristaps had to adjust to an entirely different role in New York, becoming the number one option and the leader of the team.
The Knicks want to build around the 22-year old 7-footer, and so far, the ‘unicorn’ has not let them down. In fact, in just his third season in the NBA, he is leading the Knicks to an incredible 6-4 (!) record which no one expected, and he is putting up MVP type numbers, averaging 30 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and a PER rating of 29.1, while shooting an efficient 50% from the field!
He is having a breakout season with the New York Knicks, and it sure seems as he is going to be one of the best NBA players in the near future. Even though he is 7-3, Porzingis has only had minor injuries in his career, which is also something really good about him. In his rookie season, he played 72 games in the NBA, last year 66 and this season he has not missed a single game. Moreover, the team is also playing well, as they have won six of their first ten games.
He is knocking down deep three-pointers, dunking with force inside the paint, finishing fade ways shots over smaller defenders, using his height and footwork to post up, and also loves playing defense. The best thing about the 22-year old power forward is that he accepts the challenge and the pressure the Knicks have given him; he loves the city of New York, he wants to prove that he is a legit star in the making and does everything he can to lead his team to victories.
The Knicks have to go all-in, put championship players next to Porzingis, try to persuade stars to come and play next to Kristaps because they have the type of talent to make it work and contend again. It would be disappointing to watch Porzingis play for an average Knicks squad when this historic franchise can get back on its fit with the appropriate signings.