Jan 31, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Charlotte Hornets assistant coach Patrick Ewing during the game against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
1. Rookie of the Year: Knicks Lore
Kristaps Porzingis could follow in their footsteps.
The two Knicks big men to win Rookie of the Year are generally considered to be the best interior players in franchise history. Ewing was the star of the 1980s and 1990s Knicks, while Reed led the teams of the 1960s and 1970s.
Both are safely in the Hall of Fame.
Reed led New York to its only two championships, winning it all—and Finals MVP—in 1970 and 1973, respectively. He dominated the 1969-70 season, pairing a championship with the NBA MVP, Finals MVP and All-Star Game MVP awards.
Reed was also named to the All-Defensive First Team in 1970.
Ewing never won a championship, but he led the Knicks to a pair of NBA Finals appearances. He was New York’s anchor on both ends of the floor, leading the gritty defense and anchoring the offensive attack.
An 11-time All-Star and seven-time All-NBA honoree, Ewing’s most applicable claim to fame is as the Knicks’ all-time leading scorer.
If Porzingis becomes the third Knicks big man to win Rookie of the Year, the expectations would reach an all-time high. Ewing and Reed have set the bar at an almost unreachable level, but that’s the type of task Porzingis seems to love.
Joining the franchise’s all-time leading scorer and only Finals MVP would be tough. It’d also be a testament to how much potential Porzingis possesses.
It’s far from a guarantee, but in 2015-16, Porzingis could make five phases of NBA history—all of which would place him in the company of legends.
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