Knicks: Legend of Kristaps Porzingis Continues to Grow

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The legend of Kristaps Porzingis grows on an almost daily basis. Between his size, genuine 3-point shooting range and impressive work ethic, the 20-year-old is rapidly winning over the New York Knicks’ rabid fan base.

It’s the unforgettable put-back dunks, however, that have the NBA community changing its tone on Porzingis.

Entering the 2015 NBA Draft, Porzingis was viewed as an enigma. He’s a 7’3″ sharpshooter with a strong defensive motor, but his skinny frame and unproven skill set left the Association in doubt of his future.

According to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily NewsPorzingis is aware of how his put-back dunks are altering his reputation.

"“That’s a highlight. Everybody sees that,” the 20-year-old tells the Daily News. “Nobody sees when you sometimes score 15 points and grab eight or nine rebounds. Nobody checks the stats but everybody sees the highlights. So now people are excited, they see I’m aggressive on the boards. They like that.“They have a different view of me now.”"

New York is in an undeniably promising position.

Not only has Porzingis emerged as a productive rookie, but he’s earned the respect of his peers. He’s already dunked on the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love and Greg Monroe, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

With every throw-down comes a new reason to fear the presence of Porzingis.

Fear the beardless one.

Porzingis still has a long way to go, but his presence on the offensive glass is a sign of better things to come. He’s already close to averaging a double-double and, at 20, is one of the NBA’s most productive offensive rebounders.

Thus far, Porzingis is averaging 11.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steal per game. His put-back glory has helped him register 3.3 offensive rebounds per contest, which is good for No. 6 in the NBA.

That’s an excellent mark from a player who was written off as being too thin to bang down low.

It’s early, but Porzingis’ 17.5 rebounds per 48 minutes rank No. 12 in the NBA and No. 1 amongst qualified rookies.

Porzingis isn’t just tallying elite offensive rebounding totals against scrub opponents. He came up with nine offensive boards against Greg Monroe and the Bucks, and eight against LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan and the Spurs.

He’s tallied a double-double in four of his past six games, recording at least 13 total rebounds in three.

Next: Knicks legend Patrick Ewing sang Kristaps Porzingis' praises

That dominance on the glass has helped Porzingis earn the respect of his peers. Tim Duncan called him, “Impressive,” and both Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson heralded his upside.

Most recently, LeBron James told reporters that Porzingis has a, “Bright future,” in the NBA. At this point, the biggest question is: Who isn’t impressed with the Knicks’ rookie big man?

The list is short.

Just when it seemed as though Porzingis couldn’t do anything more than what he’s already achieved, this happened:

The shot may not have counted, but it effectively solidified Porzingis’ place as the future of New York basketball. His optimistic tweet was yet another sign of his overwhelming and inspiring approach to the game:

Porzingis’ size, upside, and work ethic are all star-caliber; what more could you ask for from a 20-year-old rookie?

Whether he’s throwing down monstrous dunks or hitting a could-have-been game-winner, Porzingis is a walking highlight reel. Beyond the sensational, however, is a stability that New York has been longing for.

Even when the numbers aren’t as efficient as desired, Porzingis’ motor will never quit.

At 7’3″, Porzingis is working as hard as the guards who stand a foot shorter than he. His agility is an undeniable strength, but it’s his tenacity that’s made the big man such a heralded young athlete.

There’s still a long way to go before he’s solidified his place as the franchise player, but with every passing game, Porzingis proves that the hype was legitimate.

In due time, the man will match the growing legend.