Kristaps Porzings Is Future Leader Of Knicks: Carmelo Anthony

Kristaps Porzings Is Future Leader Of Knicks: Carmelo Anthony
Kristaps Porzingis, Kris Humphries Keith Allison / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Kristaps Porzingis is the real deal. The Latvian teenager has come a long way since being booed during June’s NBA Draft when the New York Knicks selected him with the No 4 overall pick.


Over the first 15 games of his career, Porzingis is averaging 13.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game at an impressive PER of 19.63. Over the last five games, he’s averaging 18 points and 9.8 rebounds as coach Derek Fisher has entrusted the lanky forward with more playing time.

During three of his last four games, Porzingis notched up 29, 24 and 20 points, including seven blocks versus Houston Rockets. At 20 years, 111 days, he’s the first rookie since Tim Duncan to register such stats in three categories for a single game. Even Shaquille O’Neal didn’t put up such numbers.

Carmelo Anthony has acknowledged that Porzingis is his successor as the future leader of the illustrious franchise. “He’s (Porzingis) going to lead this organization long after I’m retired,” the 31-year-old Anthony said after Monday’s 95-78 loss to Miami Heat. “Hopefully we can hoist one or two (championship trophies) before that happens,” added Anthony.

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Despite the loss to Heat, Porzingis showed off his impressive post moves and ability to guard all five positions.

Anthony acknowledged that he and Porzingis are “building” a bond. “We’re just building it,’’ Anthony said his relationship with Porzingis. “I’m here to help him and use my experience and help him get his feet wet, and he’s doing a pretty good job. I don’t want any credit for that. He’s doing a good job on his own. Learning the game and getting a feel for the game. You can see each game he’s getting better,” added the multi-time all-star and former scoring champion.

Porzingis thanked seniors Anthony, Jose Calderon and Sasha Vujacic for mentoring him through his first month in the NBA. “This past two seasons when playing in Spain, I used to have ups and downs,’’ said Porzingis. “I really wasn’t consistent. It’s a level higher, better basketball. It’s even harder to be that consistent when guys go into detail watching film on you and get you out of your rhythm. That’s the thing with every game, every season I got to get better at and be more consistent to make sure I help the team every game,” added the 7-foot-3 power forward.