Even though Kristaps Porzingis continues to take the league by storm (and push Karl-Anthony Towns in the Rookie of the Year race), he’s not immune to getting humbled, as Dwight Howard showed him on Sunday night with a vicious posterization. But in his reaction to the dunk, Porzingis showed why his mental game has translated so strongly to the NBA so far.
When asked about the play after Sunday’s game, Porzingis told ESPN (with a smile), “He dunked on me; he got me. I was asking [my teammates], ‘When is the next game against Houston? I want to get him back.’”
KP clearly has the competitive spark, and when you combine it with a little playfulness, you have an ideal mental makeup for growing into stardom in the NBA. He knew it was his time to face the music, and the fact that he wasn’t about to let a brutal dunk bruise his ego speaks volumes. And of course, we know that Porzingis has the ability to get Dwight back, especially if it’s on a putback. Dwight has a little more of a defensive pedigree than Kristaps does, however. He’s just as likely to put the rookie on his ass as he is to allow himself to be dunked on.
And for those wondering, the Knicks unfortunately have played the Rockets for the last time this season. Porzingis will have to wait for next year, barring the most unlikely of NBA Finals scenarios.