Carmelo Anthony Mentoring New York Knicks Rookie Kristaps Porzingis

New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has embraced rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis after rumors that the former has been upset with the New York Knicks for drafting the latter, according to USA Today.

When Carmelo Anthony signed a gigantic contract extension with the New York Knicks, he reiterated a desire to bring an NBA Championship to the Big Apple for the first time since the late 1970s, back when team president Phil Jackson was playing for the team.

Reports surfaced that Carmelo Anthony was hoping Phil Jackson would draft someone that could contribute immediately, since the New York Knicks did not have another star on the roster to help the former Syracuse Orangemen compete for an NBA title.

The feeling at the time was that Carmelo Anthony would much rather prefer to team up with someone like D’Angelo Russell, Justice Winslow, Karl Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor, specifically, players deemed to be more NBA ready than their peers.

Instead, Phil Jackson drafted a teenager from Europe named Kristaps Porzingis for the New York Knicks, a player considered so raw that he was not supposed to be a contributor for at least two or three years, if at all.

Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony [Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images]

Reports immediately surfaced that Carmelo Anthony was not pleased with Phil Jackson, an allegation that he immediately publicly denied. Even if he may have personally disagreed, it was the right public relations move to make to ensure that further controversy would not be brought upon a franchise that had long been tormented by rumors.

Kristaps Porzingis shocked the NBA by taking the league by storm, consistently putting up double doubles and slamming down offensive rebounds that were routinely featured on ESPN. The 19-year-old forward was a social media darling after bravely putting up with a New York Knicks fan base that showered him with boos on draft night.

While Kristaps Porzingis has seemingly hit a rookie wall, the New York Knicks remain confident that they have found a franchise player once Carmelo Anthony retires, a fact that Anthony himself has publicly stated to the media.

To his credit, Carmelo Anthony has taken the rookie under his wings and has not shown any resentment toward the mainstream media for putting so much focus on Kristaps Porzingis and largely neglecting the guy who leads the New York Knicks.

A big reason why the two of them have been able to gel on the court is because they play at different spots. Carmelo Anthony likes to operate in the mid-range area, while Kristaps Porzingis can shoot from beyond the arc and hover around the basket for easy shots.

Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson [Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images]

Defensively, Carmelo Anthony loves having Kristaps Porzingis around, because the rookie can cover up for his mistakes. The Latvian forward has shown that he can be a great weak side shot blocker because of his length.

There’ve been talks recently that Carmelo Anthony might entertain the idea of waiving the no trade clause in his contract to pursue a championship with another NBA team. However, word has it that the former Denver Nuggets star likes playing with Kristaps Porzingis and loves being in New York City.

If Carmelo Anthony sticks around, then he and Kristaps Porzingis could possibly help the New York Knicks return to the NBA Playoffs. It might even happen as soon as this season, as the team is currently sitting on a 14-14 record and just two games behind the 16-12 Detroit Pistons, who are in possession of the eighth seed right now.

For a while there, the future did not look so bright for Carmelo Anthony, but thanks to Kristaps Porzingis, he may be starting to feel rays of sunshine.

[Photo by Elsa/Getty Images]