Jake Brown | Twitter |
On October 30 at Madison Square Garden, Kristaps Porzingis was getting "MVP" chants from the home crowd. While it's only six games into the season and may sound crazy, it's actually not.
The 7-foot-3 Latvian is becoming a superstar right before our eyes. Trading Carmelo Anthony may have been the best thing to happen to Porzingis' career, and that has been evident early and often so far this season.
The Knicks have played six game, and Porzingis has scored 30-plus points in five of them. He's shooting a career-high 47.8 percent from the field and a career-high 36.4 percent from three-point range. He looks better in every aspect of his game and looks stronger as well. His strength was one of the biggest question marks and he has been terrific on his post moves.
Porzingis' wingspan is so long that it's nearly impossible for him to be stopped when he puts up fade-away jumpers on guys much smaller than him, and his ability to shoot from basically 40 feet from the basket against guys used to covering big men in the post makes his defenders' lives miserable. When you're consistently putting up 30-point games, you officially enter the superstar category.
Yes, it's early. But Porzingis is the go-to scorer for the Knicks and he's going to continue to get up plenty of shots. Take the game against the Celtics where the entire team was awful out of the picture and Porzingis is putting up around 25 shots a game and making around half of them.
He's had double-digit field goals made in those five games. Porzingis is going to go through nights where shots aren't falling, but right now they are. The only complaint may be that he could get to the foul line more. He could also be a bit better on the glass and maybe average double-figures in rebounds. If Porzingis starts shooting 10-plus free throws every night, it wouldn't be crazy for him to average 28-plus PPG.
Porzingis is just 22 years and in his third year in the NBA and the U.S., and has entered the superstar category. He's adapted to the game really well and at a rapid rate, with him finally able to play his true game with Melo gone. This is the first year Porzingis is the face of a team, and we can confidently say he's taken on that role well.
The question now will be if Porzingis can maintain this and play an 82-game season. He missed 16 games last year and 10 in his rookie season. The Knicks are a very bad team without him and really need him for all 82 if they want to compete every night.
Welcome to the superstar club, Porzingod.