The Rise of Kristaps Porzingis
If the first two seasons of his career are anything to go by, Kristaps Porzingis is set for NBA stardom.
Knicks get it right – for a change
The Knicks struck gold when they picked Kristaps Porzingis fourth in the 2015 draft, one of the few good decisions they’ve made in recent years.
Porzingis has incredible potential due to his young age, skills and size. Very few players who are taller than seven feet possess his ball-handling skills and athleticism, and those who do have mostly been all-time greats. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Porzingis will be an all-time great, but if he does reach his full potential, look out. At the very least, the Latvian could earn Hall of Fame honors if his development continues at its current pace.
Gifts from the Gods
Over the past two years, Porzingis has developed into an incredibly versatile big man who is able to score from beyond the arc as well as finish inside. These skills allow him to both stretch the floor, something that power forwards need to do in the modern NBA, as well as provide an inside scoring presence. Porzingis’ ability to do both is due to his height as well as his scoring touch.
As the third offensive weapon on the Knicks’ roster last year, behind Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose, Porzingis scored 18 points per game. With Rose gone this year, expect the Knicks’ young gun to see his usage rate – and statistics – increase. With that, the power forward should be able to break the 20 points per game mark for the first time in his fledgling NBA career.
The 22-year-old’s game is not limited solely to the offensive end. On defense, Porzingis is an excellent blocker who averaged just under two blocks per game over the past two seasons. However, there is still work to be done on his defensive skills as he ran into foul trouble too often last season, averaging almost four personal fouls per game. If he is able to lower the number of defensive fouls he receives, Porzingis will be able to protect the rim more effectively.
Improvement to come
Porzingis is still developing as he is only 22 years old. His lack of discipline and below-average rebounding for his size are signs of a raw young player who has not yet become accustomed to the world’s biggest basketball competition. However, he is more than likely to improve in these areas on account of his physical ability and ball skills.
If – and when – he does, Porzingis will certainly become one of the greatest basketball players of his generation.
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