Barclays Center, June 25th, 2015, a night that Kristaps Porzingis will never forget. A night that consisted of constant criticism, negativity, and of course the booing from Knicks fans across the nation.
Yet, the 2015 NBA Draft was the fuel to Porzingis’ fire. He has proven that he not only belongs in the league, but that he is one of the Associations elite young talents.
In his Rookie and Sophomore seasons, Porzingis displayed flashes of his greatness, showcasing his three point range and his skill on both ends of the floor.
With high praise to from some future Hall of Famers such as Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki, the “Unicorn” opened the eyes of the doubters that once called him a bust from the get-go.
This season, Kristaps has the Knick Faithful on their feet. After an impressive start to his 2017-2018 campaign including an explosive 40 point, 6 block performance against the Indiana Pacers, Porzee is aiming for more than just an All-Star Nod or even a Most Improved Player award. Porzingis is showing why he deserves to be mentioned in the MVP race.
Kristaps is second in the NBA in points per game at 30.0, while shooting 50% from the field, and 36% from three point range. But, it is not just his offense that has the Knicks winning games (5-4, tied for 4th in the East), Kristaps’ stifling defense makes him a threat on both sides of the floor, averaging 2.2 blocks per game (3rd in the NBA).
Stats are always great, but what really makes Kristaps Porzingis a true MVP candidate?
It’s not his offense, defense, or his near 30 PER (28.72), it is the impact he has in the toughest environment to play in sports, New York City. Porzingis has really brought the life back into Madison Square Garden. After the last few seasons of the Carmelo Anthony-Era in N.Y., which ended in disarray and disappointment to say the least, many had written off the Knicks and placed them on a course for a downward spiral. I know that it is very early into the season, but Porzingis has a chance to build a legacy in New York. With a Knicks roster not loaded with top end talent, Porzingis is looking as valuable as ever. He is scoring at will and bringing the leadership qualities that New York has desperately been searching for. If the Knicks can scrounge a playoff appearance the 7-foot-3-inch phenomenon known by teammates as “KP” or the “Unicorn” will be in MVP talks all season long.
Written By: Daniel Malakismail