With the highest pick the team has held since drafting Patrick Ewing first overall in 1985, the New York Knicks surprised everyone selecting Kristaps Porzingis at number four. Knicks fans were shocked and at the time were booing and calling for President Phil Jackson’s head to roll. After a very exciting summer campaign though, the city has come around on the rook.
While he may not have been the fan choice, he definitely was the right choice. A big man that can do it all. Something the team has lacked for some time. The team lost Amare Stoudemire to the Dallas Mavericks in the midseason and there is now a job open, not only as a starting big man but as an understudy for Andrea Bargnani.
Bargnani averaged 14.8 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game last season, while Stoudemire lead the team with a 5.6 rebound per game average. So they’ll need somebody on the boards and if that same guy can move the ball and add some points to the big screen, that’s a pretty solid bonus.
Porzingis’ big 7’1 frame was strong in the paint, with the blocks and on the boards during the 2015 NBA Summer League. His impact on the Knicks for the season ahead has already been felt. Their odds to win the conference are at +20,000, according to U.S. sports betting site topbet.eu. That’s not great, but it is a welcome change to see the team ranked higher than six other squads after finishing dead last in the East just one year ago.
Not only did he win over the fans with his play though, he also brought them on to the bandwagon with his rendition of “Ridin Dirty”. A video that was instantly picked up by media outlets everywhere.
The Knicks need a character. Let me rephrase. The Knicks need a likable character. Amare had a rough ride after leaving the team high and dry in the 2012 playoffs after slicing his hand punching a fire extinguisher. Carmelo Anthony meanwhile, is a star player but his greed and rumors of wanting out have pigeonholed him as a one-man show. The Knicks need a face that is relate-able with the fan base. A Derek Jeter-style, team first athlete that will live and die with his ball club.
Porzingis has the makings to be that guy.