Kristaps Porzingis is an NBA All-Star for the first time
Kristaps Porzingis’ dream is coming true Tuesday.
In his third season, Porzingis will be named to the All-Star Game as an Eastern Conference frontcourt reserve in a vote by the NBA’s coaches, an NBA source confirmed.
Before the announcement was official, Porzingis tweeted a hint in the late afternoon that he was Los Angeles-bound for All-Star Weekend, Feb. 16-18, at Staples Center.
The tweet read: “Just a Kid from Latvia,” along with a picture of him high-fiving fans. It seemed a signal Porzingis had learned of his fate.
The other East frontcourt reserves are Kevin Love and Al Horford, Yahoo Sports reported. Last week, Porzingis sounded disappointed he didn’t make it as a starter after losing out to LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid.
Porzingis said Monday it would be “a dream come true” to make the All-Star Game as he had predicted last season after winning the Skills Competition. At 22 years old, Porzingis will be the second-youngest All-Star in Knicks history. Bill Cartwright was 15 days younger in 1980.
Knicks shooting guard Courtney Lee said Porzingis deserving of the All-Star nod.
“I feel he should,’’ Lee said Tuesday before the announcement. “From the start to where he’s at right now, he’s done a phenomenal job. He’s taking on responsibility as a guy we’re looking to get us going on both ends of the floor. He’s putting in work and I mean, the numbers speak for itself.”
Porzingis is averaging 23.4 points – 16th in the league – but has seen a dropoff from the first month, when he posted eight 30-point games in the first 11 he played.
“You’ve got to understand how hard that is,’’ Lee said. “He was averaging 30 and you’ve got to realize that teams are going to start preparing for him differently, start double-teaming him, and that’s going to slow anybody down. It’s not that he’s had a let off or he’s not willing to continue to do that. For those people that are disappointed and doing it against a double team is tough.”
Green, expecting a tough matchup, gave Porzingis his kudos for improving this season during the Tuesday morning shootaround, not knowing he would not play.
“He’s 7-3, so you got to try something,’’ Green said. “Try not to let him get to his spots, he can shoot right over anybody. So it’s just kind of something I experimented with. Had a little success with it. But he’s a much different player now. Stronger. Smarter. Better. So same things you can do to somebody as a rookie don’t quite work in Year 3.”
However, there was no Porzingis-Green rematch at Oracle Arena. Porzingis sat out with a left-knee irritation, the Knicks said. Coach Jeff Hornacek said Porzingis hurt his knee at practice Monday at the Olympic Club.