Though he doesn’t have a catchy enough name to live up to “Linsanity,” Kristaps Porzingis has similarly lit the city of New York on fire with his precocious play. On Saturday against the Houston Rockets, the Knicks rookie put up historic numbers — 24 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks, a combined line no player his age has ever accomplished. And performances like that have Carmelo Anthony planning to “hoist one or two [championship trophies] before [I retire].”
When Porzingis was drafted (to boos and tears), the going assumption was that if he was to hit his massive potential, it would take years. That still may be the case, but he’s farther along than anyone imagined, with six double-doubles to start the year even though he’s still rail-thin. And he’s shown early signs of the clutch gene — his seventh block on Saturday was in the final minutes, against James Harden:
Anthony said he wanted to be like a big brother to Porzingis when the season began, and he has shown zero hard feelings over Porzingis getting the lion’s share of attention. That’s for the best, because this train shows no signs of slowing. Dirk Nowitzki called him “for real,” and Jose Calderon said KP’s better now than Pau Gasol was his rookie year.
Again, it’s still so early in Porzingis’ career that assuming he will continue to put up silly stat lines like he did Saturday is playing a dangerous game. But ‘Melo knows that if he wants to bring a ring to New York City, helping Porzingis live up to the early hype is the best way to make it happen.
(Via New York Post)