Kristaps Porzingis silenced most of critics last season, including New York Knicks fans who voiced out their displeasure when their team selected the Latvian center in the 2015 NBA Draft.
All the jeers and boos turned into cheers last season, when Porzingis proved that he has what it takes to help the Knicks end their title drought. While he was motivated by teammate Carmelo Anthony last season, the 21-year-old revealed one basketball legend had a huge impact in his game.
“We were playing the Lakers in the second half of the season. Kobe came up to me after the game, and he said, ‘You have a bright future ahead of you.’ That blew my mind. Kobe’s my idol. It was an honor,” Porzingis said.
Porzingis played in 72 games last season, posting impressive numbers for the Knicks. The 2015 fourth overall pick averaged 14.3 points on top of 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game last season.
The Latvian averaged good numbers but still failed to win the Rookie of the Year award, losing to Minnesota Timberwolves budding superstar Karl-Anthony Towns. He is not discouraged, though, as he is setting a lofty goal in the years ahead of his career.
First up, Porzingis said that he wants to help the Knicks make the playoffs next season. And for his personal accolade, he is aiming to register a rare quadruple-double in a game. But to achieve that, the 7-foot-3 center said that he also needs to improve his defense.
“One day I’d like to get a quadruple double, points, assists, rebounds and blocks,” he said. “Melo got close to a few triple doubles last year — as the wing player in our offense, he’s in a good position to do set everyone up — so I know it’s possible in our system. Ten blocks, though, I don’t know.”