NBA rookie Kristaps Porzingis came into the league with a boom. Then, he hit the proverbial rookie wall and started looking like a mild-mannered player. Once a candidate to win the Rookie of the Year award, Porzingis decided to explode on Wednesday night, though. It helped the New York Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls, according to ESPN. The explosion from Porzingis enabled the Knicks to withstand an even bigger explosion from Bulls backup forward Nikola Mirotic.
During his first month in the NBA, Kristaps Porzingis managed to alleviate the concerns of a fan base that was worried that the franchise had made yet another mistake in the draft. The comparisons to Frederic Weis, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, and former New York Knicks center Andrea Bargnani were starting to go away once Porzingis threw up a couple of double-doubles early in his career in the National Basketball Association. Many thought he wasn’t even going to receive substantial minutes this season.
Against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, Kristaps Porzingis matched his career-high scoring output. The Latvian rookie had 29 points, 10 rebounds and an assist. At this point in the season, the victory doesn’t mean all that much to the New York Knicks. They have very little chance at getting a spot in the NBA Playoffs. They also don’t have a first round pick this year. The biggest victory is seeing Porzingis be dominant again.
New York Knicks starting point guard Jose Calderon and starting center Robin Lopez combined for 22 points, 17 assists, and 17 rebounds. Lopez has gone from being an overpaid mistake in free agency to being someone that is invaluable to the Knicks. He’s helped Kristaps Porzingis develop much sooner than anyone expected. If Calderon can produce games like this more frequently, then fans in New York would talk less about upgrading the point guard position in free agency this upcoming summer.
Kristaps Porzingis told everyone that he wanted to finish his first season in the NBA on a strong point. He’s aware that his production level dipped during the middle portion of the season. If the game against the Chicago Bulls is a sign of things to come for the final few games, then there’s going to be a lot more excitement from the New York Knicks fan base. Madison Square Garden should be the place to be.
[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]