The news of Kevin Love's injury may put a wrench into a potential deal between the Knicks and Cavaliers surrounding Carmelo Anthony, but it also opens the door back up for Anthony and/or Kristaps Porzingis to once again receive All-Star Game consideration.
Whereas Anthony has been a mainstay at the midseason event for nearly a decade, Porzingis is just starting to knock down the door that leads to association with the game's top talents. As demonstrated in the fan, player, and media voting, the 21-year-old has increasing popularity.
As the ever-quickly budding centerpiece and potential superstar of this hungry Knicks squad, Porzingis has plenty of things going in his favor, including an injury to 76ers big man Joel Embiid.
As fate would have it, Porzingis' play is also backing up his well deserved consideration. This season, he's averaging 18.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2 blocks per contest. It's easy to take such numbers for granted and discount them, given that they aren't contributing to a winning environment. But Porzingis shouldn't suffer for that, especially at this point in the selection process. He's one of the most productive and efficient big men in the league.
As he steadily makes improvements almost across the board, The Unicorn is shooting an equally impressive 45 percent from the field and 39 percent from deep. He continues to prove his immense versatility. Trade rumors are clouding an uncertain campaign for Anthony. Porzingis has momentum.
Following an injury-plagued end to 2016, it took some time for the youngster to begin finding his footing again. Nevertheless, a strong start to the month of February has shown Porzingis is getting back to his old ways. Such a string of strong performances has seemingly come at a perfect time.
Porzingis is already set to be in New Orleans for All-Star Weekend and has a busy schedule. He'll play in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday and the Skills Challenge on Saturday. Needless to say, his Sunday slate is clear for him to embrace a new opportunity. This is what he and the Knicks have been waiting for.
Frankly, the fan base deserves this as well. Through the continued losing, the Anthony trade rumors, and the drama surrounding Charles Oakley, the Big Apple basketball market needs something to celebrate. Porzingis represents a beacon of light, and an All-Star selection would also provide validation. Selecting Porzingis in the NBA Draft is Phil Jackson's biggest accomplishment to date as an NBA executive.
Porzingis' potential has been well-noted, but recognition from the league as a whole would be an impressive benchmark in his still-young career. Its placement amongs the most skilled players. Porzingis certainly seems to fit that bill already.