Why Kristaps Porzingis Is A Candidate For Rookie Of The Year


Although it early into the 2015-16 season, Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis is already showing he has a very bright future in the NBA.

With the fourth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks selected the 19-year-old, 7’3″ Latvian forward who previously played professional basketball in Spain. Once NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced his name, Knick fans displayed their displeasure with Phil Jackson‘s selection on national television, by serenading Porzingis with boos and disrespectful remarks as he approached the stage to realize his NBA dream.

Not to mention, a 10-year old Knick fan was shown crying after Porzingis walked out of the arena, officially wearing a New York Knick cap.

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At first, most NBA analysts offered praise for Porzingis’ versatility on both ends of the floor, including such abilities as, an infinite shooting range beyond the 3-point line, his mobility on the offensive end, and his shot blocking expertise.

However, most fans and analysts were also skeptical about how long it would take for Porzingis to be able to adapt to the NBA physicality, saying that it would take the Knick rookie two plus years to develop into a significant impact player. Despite his tremendous upside, he was compared to past European busts such as Darko Miličić and Andrea Bargnani, since nobody has really seen Porzingis play other than in Spain.

However, since the beginning of the new season, it’s safe to say Porzingis has greatly exceeded expectations, and is producing way better than anybody had ever anticipated. He has shown that he can make an impact on any game immediately, averaging an impressive, 13.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.81 blocks, per game.

Of all the top rookies in this year’s NBA draft class, Porzingis is currently ranked third in scoring, and blocked shots per game, along with being ranked second amongst rookies in rebounds per game. Not only that, Porzingis is also ranked second amongst rookies in games where he scored 20 plus points, and is ranked second in double-doubles behind Karl Anthony Towns. He is also very close to being the first Knick rookie to average a double-double since Willis Reed in 1964.

One of the most encouraging things about Porzingis, is his on the court chemistry with All-Star Carmelo Anthony. While many teams know that Anthony is the main catalyst for the Knicks success, Porzingis ability to play the stretch power forward helps him capitalize on all the attention the Knick All-Star receives.

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Although it’s still very early in the season, the one-two punch combination of Anthony and Porzingis has shown a lot of offensive potential. Porzingis is averaging a whopping 18.3 points, and 12.2 rebounds in a span of 36 minutes. Even though Anthony’s shooting percentage is down they still make an effective scoring tandem. There have been numerous occasions, where both players were the main scores on the floor such as games in Miami, Charlotte, and Houston.

At the beginning of training camp, most people didn’t believe that the Knicks would have a chance to make the playoffs, let alone win 20 games throughout the season. After a disastrous first year under team president Phil Jackson, New York was written off for the next few years. However, it looks like Jackson’s decision to draft Porzingis will set the stage for a fantastic future for the New York Knicks franchise.

Ever since Patrick Ewing was drafted 1st overall in 1985, the Knicks haven’t had a first round draft pick that ended up having a bright future in the NBA. But Porzingis’ emergence so far this season is one of the greatest stories that will be talked about for a long time.

With the 7’3″ Latvian forward continuing to get better, and the greatness of Carmelo Anthony, New York has a great chance to make the playoffs and will be a force to be reckoned with for a very long time. NBA fans start to respect Kristaps Porzingis as an NBA player, because he is worth watching for years to come.