Kristaps Porzingis. How about that?
The No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, considered by many to be a project, has exceeded virtually everyone’s rookie-season expectations through 12 games. Porzingis is second on the Knicks in scoring, with 12.8 points per game, and is averaging a team-high 8.6 rebounds.
The Knicks, by the way, are 6-6 – this after going an Eastern Conference-worst 17-65 a year ago.
“It’s amazing what confidence does to an athlete – and it’s really at any level,” CBS-TV New York’s Steve Overmyer said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “When you come in and you feel like you can dominate and then you go out there and do it, especially from the jump, he gets set off on the right mindset from the beginning and he has the physical tools to do it. Is he 20 years old? Twenty years old, 7-3 – he’s going be growing. He might end up being Manute Bol. He’s got a wide body, he dribbles and he’s not afraid to get after it. And listen, Knicks fans have been waiting a long time for something good to happen, and finally when you get any kind of glimmer of hope that there is going to be a positive story coming out of that locker room, they’re going to cling to it – and why not? They’re going to buy his jerseys.”
Porzingis, as you may recall, was booed mercilessly on draft night. That would have broken a lot of kids – or, at the very least, been disheartening. You work your entire life to get to that moment, and then when it comes, your home crowd boos you.
“Not just that, but Carmelo Anthony was upset,” Overmyer said. “(Porzingis) did the smartest thing by saying, ‘I’m riding Carmelo’s coattails. Whatever Carmelo wants, I’m going to be part of your team – whatever you need.’ Once he got Melo on his side, I don’t know. Maybe that was one of the things that helped boost him. Maybe Phil got into his head.”
Anthony is averaging 23.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.8 assist per game.
The Knicks play their next four games on the road, beginning with the Thunder (7-5) on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.