You can buzz all you want about this talented NBA rookie class.
I’m all about getting pumped about Kristaps Porzingis’s 2017-18.
We all saw the Latvian unicorn take a step forward last season (18.1 points, nearly two threes, 7.2 rebounds and two blocks per contest), but there are signs he’s about to make another leap this coming season (like the headline says, it’s probably irrational! But we did this with Joel Embiid last year and look at how that turned out).
Here are a few:
1. He’s bulking up
Just look at this Instagram photo!
2. He was awesome during EuroBasket 2017
He hit shots from everywhere and was a defensive force. And he got in Anthony Randolph’s face during a scuffle. Maybe that means he’ll be even more aggressive next year!
3. Phil Jackson is gone
All of that trade talk that had Knicks fans screaming at their televisions, phones and laptops is gone, along with the embattled team president. Yes, Carmelo Anthony and all his drama is still tethered to the Knicks, but that shouldn’t concern Porzingis. All he needs to focus on is that next step to superstardom.
4. He’s saying all the right things
“So far it’s been tough in New York, but my journey is only beginning and I hope to stay there my whole career, so as a city we can have some fun and win some games and do something big,” he said.
“For me, it’s now home.”
That will help calm Knicks fans a little after the way he was treated this summer. And what does he think of Anthony?
“He’s an All-Star, an incredible player and I’ve learned so much from him,” Porzingis said. “There’s still so much for me to learn from him. I would love to have him around and keep playing alongside him. But it is what it is. It’s a business. If it ends, well … I don’t know, it’s out of my hands. I’m really thankful for these couple of years I’ve been with him, just seeing how he works during the summer. It proves he wants to win and he wants to be great. I’m sure he’ll make the right decision for himself.”
It’s exactly what you want to hear out of him — nothing to stir up trouble, support for Anthony while also saying basketball is “a business,” which doesn’t get him into hot water with the franchise.