Although the New York Knicks floated the idea of bringing Carmelo Anthony back into the fold this season, the team ultimately made the right decision to trade him to the Oklahoma City Thunder. This is the rare case where everybody wins.
The Thunder received a win-now player, the Knicks opened up minutes for younger players, and Kristaps Porzingis is the featured man in the Big Apple. He has delivered.
In a 3-3 start that has seen the Knicks win three straight, the young big man is averaging 29.3 PPG and 8.3 RPG. He’s also shooting 47.8 percent from the floor, which is a solid number for a player doing a majority of his work outside the paint.
Porzingis endured a sophomore slump in 2016-17, which had many questioning just how good he could be. His dissatisfaction with the team even spurred Phil Jackson to explore trade avenues prior to the NBA Draft.
Now the primary focus for the Knicks, Porzingis has scored 30-plus points in five of the Knicks’ six games this season. One off night against the Celtics is the only thing keeping the power forward from leading the NBA in scoring.
Currently, Porzingis ranks third in the league in scoring, behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMarcus Cousins. Playing in the Eastern Conferece, there’s no reason to believe that Porzingis won’t be able to continue this torrid stretch.
“He’s obviously really, really young, but Derrick Rose got his MVP when he was 23,” teammate Enes Kanter told reporters following a win over the Denver Nuggets. “I think Kristaps will be part of the MVP conversation, definitely.”
“I mean, he’s 7-3. What can you do, really?” Tim Hardaway Jr. added. “He’s 7-3, can handle the ball, run the lane like a wing. You can’t really – I’m lost for words – you can’t really do much.
According to NBA.com. Porzingis is the first Knicks player to ever record 30 or more points in four of the franchise’s first five games.
Keep it here on AXS.com for more NBA news and tickets to select games.