Kristaps Porzingis, one of the future faces of the NBA, is already proving his stardom in the Big Apple. Porzingis is a 21-year old Latvian superstar who stands 7 feet 3 inches and was selected by the New York Knicks fourth overall in the 2015 NBA draft. Though Porzingis was booed on draft night by the host Knicks fans, he was able to put that all past him and go to work on the court at Madison Square Garden.
Porzingis took a different path to the NBA, partly because he came from Latvia and also because he wanted to get his reputation in with professionals as opposed to college kids. Porzingis played on Baloncesto Sevilla from 2011-2015, which is based in Sevilla, Spain.
It was clearly evident that Porzingis had experience playing with professionals as he was a step ahead of everyone in his rookie class except for reigning rookie of the year Karl Anthony Towns. He played in 72 of the 82 games and missed the last seven due to a shoulder injury. He averaged 14.3 points per game, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.9 blocks per game. He made the NBA All-Rookie First Team and finished second in Rookie-of-the-Year behind. He was also the first ever rookie to record over 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 75 three pointers and 100 blocks.
He has drawn comparisons to both Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki. Porzingis’s ability to rebound on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball mixed with his strong scoring ability has earned him the right to be compared to these two foreign NBA legends. He certainly looks the part of those two and is now playing up to it. Those fans who booed him on draft night hopefully learned a valuable lesson: don’t judge a book by its cover and be respectful because you might be surprised what they prove to be capable of. As long as Porzingis can stay healthy and New York will pay him what he is worth, the future looks extremely bright for Porzingis in the Big Apple.
He is already on his way to making his first all-star appearance in his second season of young, promising career. He is second on the team in scoring, averaging 20.5 points per game to go along with 7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. The Knicks are 6-7 right now and in the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. It is still early, but look for the Knicks to make a playoff push once they figure out the chemistry of all their new former all-stars like Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee.
Kristaps Porzingis is on the road to an excellent career where he will be a perennial all-star and hopefully one day a hall of famer. The sky’s the limit with Porzingis’s size, skill and dedication to the game. He already plays like a seasoned veteran at age 21.