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.
The hype grew exponentially on November 15, 2015. The New York Knicks played the Charlotte Hornets. Kristaps Porzingis had 29 points and 11 rebounds. He made all of his free throws and three point shots. Overall, Porzingis shot close to 60 percent. The outstanding play enabled the Knicks to beat the Hornets. That night, NBA fans believed that the next big thing had finally entered the league. Porzingis was bound to become a superstar in the National Basketball Association.
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.
Once Kristaps Porzingis becomes a consistent threat in the NBA, the New York Knicks are hoping that he and Carmelo Anthony can become a lethal combination. The duo gave management a glimpse of that during the game against the Chicago Bulls. Anthony chipped in with 24 points and five assists. On nights where Anthony and Porzingis can combine for more than 50 points, it reduces the pressure on the supporting cast.
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.
The Chicago Bulls saw good production from Derrick Rose and Nikola Mirotic. Rose had 21 points and four assists. Mirotic exploded off the bench with 35 points and six rebounds, making an argument to win the starting power forward position from Taj Gibson. Jimmy Butler struggled with his shot, so he only had seven points. However, the Bulls starting shooting guard chipped in with eight assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block.
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]