Kristaps Porzingis has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 33.5 points and 3.3 blocks on 54.4 percent shooting from the field over the Knicks' last four games.
The 22-year-old scored a career-high 40 points while swatting six shots in the Knicks' comeback win over the Pacers on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.
In nine games this season, Porzingis is averaging 30.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks while playing 33.4 minutes per game.
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Porzingis knows right now that he's the King of New York. With baseball season over, the Giants season essentially over, and the Jets likely not getting to the playoffs, it's a Knicks town right now. Porzingis is the face of this city at this moment.
He certainly has stepped up to that role, and he looks very comfortable on the floor. He plays with that sense that nobody can really stop him. It's going to come to a point soon where he sees more double teams and will have to find the open man, but even then, he probably is going to find a way to draw a foul, get to the hoop, or make an absurd fadeway.
The offense doesn't stop when Porzingis gets the ball, and that is the difference in this team from Carmelo Anthony. When Melo touched the ball, it was a lot of watching and waiting and hoping his shot would go in. The offense is still flowing when it is in Porzingis' hands, and that is a big part of why this team is thriving right now.
On top of that, he showed his defensive presence Sunday night, putting up highlight reel blocks left and right. That is the part of his game that has clearly improved. You can say he can improve on the rebounding end, but Enes Kanter is averaging a double-double and has a 19-rebound and 18-rebound game already this season.
Porzingis is more confident than he's ever been, and maybe it took the departure of Melo for his game to truly flourish. If he continues to improve upon this, those MVP chants at MSG could become a reality faster than people ever would have thought.
I don't think anyone legitimately would say they thought Porzingis would be a MVP candidate. We all thought he would be an All-Star and maybe become a superstar, but he's growing at a rapid rate. While still early, he's also doing it consistently night-in and night-out. When he isn't good, the Knicks aren't good. This team goes the way Porzingis goes. The atmosphere at MSG is electric, and it's resembling the Patrick Ewing Knicks days, but let's see if it can continue all year.