As the new NBA season creeps closer and closer by the day, Sports Illustrated began to release their Top 100 players for the 2018-19 season. And one New York Knicks player has fallen on the list.
Kristaps Porzingis came in at No. 52 on the list after a 2017 season that had some big ups, and ultimately, a season-ending down.
"If healthy, Porizingis (22.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG) would have had a strong case as a top-20 player," SI wrote. "By record and point differential, the 2017-18 Knicks were a playoff bubble team with the Latvian big man on the court. After he suffered a season-ending ACL tear in early February, though, New York was pitiful, ranking No. 28 in winning percentage and No. 26 in net rating. Porzingis was on track to solidifying his reputation as a franchise player, and his unfortunate injury was the difference for the Knicks between being competitive and noncompetitive, relevant and irrelevant, watchable and unwatchable."
Porzingis is no doubt the face of the Knicks' franchise, but he may not be showing that face on the court this season. He is still continuing to rehab his torn ACL, and the Knicks are not sure when he will be able to resume full activity. The hope is for around the end of the year, but there is the possibility that Porzingis may not play at all.
The Knicks are still in rebuilding mode, but Porzingis is a key part of their success now and in the future. Last season, he managed to finish 16th in scoring and second in blocks despite his February injury. He was also a 40 percent three-point shooter.
These stats gave Porzingis his first All-Star nod, but his injury kept him from playing in the game he was looking forward to. Still, despite not knowing when he will play again, Porzingis' impact on the floor when he is healthy is enough to make him a member of this list.