Knicks take a chance with Latvian basketball player

By DEAN ROVENTINI
On November 8, 2017

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison, Wikipedia

Kristaps Porzingis has arrived.

The 7’3”, 22-year-old out of Latvia is taking the NBA by storm to begin the 2017-18 season. The NBA was skeptical of the former fourth overall pick due to his youth, size and European basketball background. The Knicks took a chance on Porzingis so early in the 2015 NBA draft. Kristaps was welcomed with a sea of “boos” when Commissioner Adam Silver called his name.

Over the last two years, the Knicks couldn’t decipher the team’s centerpiece between Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. The struggling franchise couldn’t seem to let go of Anthony since trading for him in 2011 while giving up quite a lot in the process. It wasn’t until this past summer when the Knicks finally pulled the trigger by trading him to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick.

The “Melo Era” has finally come to an end in New York. The long overdue move is transitioning into the “Unicorn Era” as Porzingis will take the reigns of the team. At only 22 years old, Kristaps will be the team’s primary scoring option and leader on the court. He is fitting in very nicely thus far.

The Knicks have an over .500 record and sit in the 7th seed to begin the season. They are not quite contenders but it is a surprising start. The Knicks were projected to be a subpar team in the NBA but are looking to stun the doubters. They even have a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, where they won by 19 points.

As for Kristaps Porzingis, he is averaging 30 points on the season. The primary scorer title seems to be fitting him well to start the season. Porzingis also has just fewer than eight rebounds a game but should increase that total throughout the year. His percentages are higher from his previous two seasons. He is 53 percent from the field along with 36 percent from beyond the arch.

There was no doubt that Kristaps was going to be a future NBA star, but it seems he is arriving on the scene sooner rather than later. The sky's the limit for Porzingis and he could be seeing a very successful individual season. If he can turn the Knicks into a playoff team and keep up his numbers then “Porzingod” could be in the running for an MVP trophy.  

droventi@ramapo.edu

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