It’s been nothing short of indescribable for just how poorly the New York Knicks have competed this season, and as a whole, it’s been more from a basketball point-of-view.
The Knicks, who are a shoddy 3-12 in their last fifteen outings, are only proving themselves as a team that’s slowly-but-surely falling apart in the Eastern Conference. Fans will blame the coaching, they’ll blame the players, and they’ll certainly blame management if their team continues to struggle throughout the year, and for Knick-fans in general, they haven’t been an exception.
Alongside from the exasperating Carmelo Anthony rumors, to Derrick Rose’s apparent absence, it’s a definite juncture that Kristaps Porzingis has been flat-out atrocious throughout these recent stretch of games.
Dating back to a strong 24-point performance in last Friday’s road-win over Milwaukee, the Knicks’ Latvian Power Forward finished on a red-hot 9-of-14 from the field, including a 3-of-4 night from beyond the arc. He added six rebounds, but eventually fouled-out of the game. After that showing, there has not been a carryover.
In his last-three games (all losses) Porzingis has come across averages of just 10.7 Points and 3.7 Rebounds. Even worse, he’s shot a despondent 32% from the field and 31% from three. Note that this was in 28.5 Minutes Per Game along with a +/- of -6.3.
While the numbers aren’t good, his matchups against up-and-coming big-men like himself, have outplayed him.
In Saturday’s 123-109 loss in Indiana, former Texas Longhorn Myles Turner had a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards on 6-of-13 shooting — out-hustling Porzingis on the glass. The rebounding advantage gave Turner the slight edge in the matchup.
Moving on, while the Knicks suffered another near-blowout loss, Pelicans’ All-Star Anthony Davis proved himself as “far-superior” to Porzingis — scoring 40 points on 14-of-22 shooting, including an 11-for-12 night from the foul-line. Davis also grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds in NOLA’s 110-96 win. Porzingis on the other end, only managed for nine points on 3-13 shooting and 0-4 from deep. Also pulled down just four rebounds.
Finally, in Wednesday’s game, it just didn’t get any better for Kristaps. In New York’s 97-98 loss to Philadephia, after a game-winning turnaround jumpshot from TJ McConnell, Porzingis had air-balled a wide-open corner three prior to the shot, which would’ve iced the game had it went in. Not that you should blame the loss on Porzingis for the miss, but it’d really about summed up his entire night. He scored seven points on 3-10 shots, and was 1-6 from three.
Sixers’ standout rookie Joel Embiid was at the forefront of their fourth-quarter breakthrough. Along with a huge double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds, Philadelphia had went on a 15-4 run prior to McConnell’s game-winner.
So to reimburse, Kristaps Porzingis has officially shown that he’s just not ready to lead an NBA team this early in his career — at least not consistently. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone, though. I mean, he is just 21 years of age with an entire ceiling of potential hovering over him. And proving a countless amount of doubters wrong about his transition to the NBA, there’s no question that’s he belongs in the category of the league’s top-tier players of tomorrow.
But alongside all the crazy highlights and #NBAVote tags, there’s still so much this kid has to improve on, and I just hope he does. With the pressure of playing in New York, including all the expectations he’s had since the 2015 NBA Draft, becoming a franchise cornerstone has weighed-in heavily on him.
But if we’re talking about a “franchise cornerstone”, this is how important Kristaps already is, for any possible chances of New York having prolonged success:
- In 17 wins this season, Porzingis tallies some gaudy across-the-board averages of 21.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 2.1 BPG, including percentages of 48% FG and 42% 3PT.
- In 19 losses, he averages just 17.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 1.9 BPG, and has shot 41% FG, and 38% 3PT.
If the Knicks are destined to win this season (and many seasons), they have to be steady with the growth of their 21 year-old prospect. It’s important that Porzingis gets used to developing a low-post presence at the NBA-level, which he already has at his disposal. But in far-bigger games, he has to be a more frequent go-to option.
Patience is running very thin for this franchise, and it’s noticeable. But maybe, they’ve come to the realization that the time just isn’t now.
FOLLOW: @FifteenHeatMan on Twitter.
LIKE: Isiah Curry NBA on Facebook.