New York Knicks phenom Kristaps Porzingis ranked No. 2 in the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year voting behind Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns.
Few players in franchise history have instilled a sense of genuine optimism in New York Knicks fans. Those who managed to have earned a throne as one of the Kings of New York, including Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, and Willis Reed.
He’s still young, but Kristaps Porzingis seems to be having that effect on Knicks fans.
Porzingis was a revelation in 2015-16, performing at a level that exceeded the expectations of the fans, coaching staff, and front office. He’s still developing, but Porzingis didn’t need much time before he was pegged as the next franchise player.
For as great as Porzingis was in his first season, it was Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns who won the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year award—unanimously.
Porzingis was sensational, but Towns deserved the award.
Towns averaged 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.8 offensive boards, 2.0 assists, and 1.7 blocks on a slash line of .542/.341/.811. It was a remarkable season from the No. 1 overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft.
The other rookies who have achieved those marks: Tim Duncan in 1997-98, Alonzo Mourning and Shaquille O’Neal in 1992-93, David Robinson in 1989-90, Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984-85, and Ralph Sampson in 1983-84.
That’s prestigious company, to say the least.
Fortunately, Porzingis wasn’t entirely overlooked. The Latvian phenom was honored for his contributions by receiving a vast majority of the second-place votes for Rookie of the Year.
Per the NBA’s official Twitter account, Porzingis received all but 10 second-place votes for Rookie of the Year.
Note that, in the provided graphic, Towns’ vote total is accidentally shifted over a column. The, “130,” should all be under first-place votes.
Thus, Porzingis very easily ranked No. 2 in the voting process.
Porzingis finished the 2015-16 regular season with averages of 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 offensive boards, 1.3 assists, and 1.9 blocks in 28.4 minutes. His averages in points, rebounds, and blocks are all the highest by a Knicks rookie since Ewing in 1985-86.
More impressively, Porzingis became the first rookie in NBA history to record at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 100 blocks, and 75 3-point field goals.
Porzingis and Towns project to be players who will develop an on-court rivalry for the ages. Both have the versatility to play power forward and center, and each provides their respective team with a remarkably well-rounded skill set.
Towns won this first battle, but the war has only just begun.