Kristaps Porzingis.

Will the Knicks' summer arrivals help or hinder Kristaps Porzingis in New York?

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After his name was met with boos and tears on draft night when the New York Knicks selected him with the fourth pick in the 2015 draft, Kristaps Porzingis may not have imagined that he would go on to enjoy arguably the best year of his life.

Or maybe he did. Once he took to the floor, the Latvian's talent was clear for all to see and the way he took the situation in his stride suggested that he knew he would change people's minds and prove the Knicks right. 

The big man enjoyed an impressive rookie campaign and his popularity in the Big Apple was evident as he ended the season with the fourth highest-selling jersey in the entire league. 

He was behind only Steph Curry, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and ahead of players such as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Kyrie Irving.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the last time a rookie finished in the top five in jersey sales was 2004, when LeBron James finished number one, followed by Carmelo Anthony.

Porzingis' popularity in New York was largely due to the size of the market and the Knicks fans' joy at seeing another star emerge at Madison Square Garden. 

The 20-year-old was the one positive that came out of another disappointing year for the Knicks, but this summer's activities in free agency and in the trade market will see expectations rise at MSG.


Help or hindrance

Following a miserable campaign that saw the team end with a record of 32-50 and miss out on the playoffs for a third straight year, the Knicks' front office, and Phil Jackson, in particular, were under immense pressure to make acquisitions to enable the franchise to be competitive again. 

New York turned out to be one of the most active teams in the offseason, bringing in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah from the Chicago Bulls as well as Courtney Lee from the Charlotte Hornets to bolster their starting lineup.

Rose has gone on record on multiple occasions during the summer saying that the Knicks are a "super team" and Lee backed up his new teammate's confidence by stating that they're "contenders".

Though you can't fault their confidence and excitement at playing in NY, the new recruits have put unnecessary pressure on the team to succeed. Something that could have an effect on Porzingis. 

New York Knicks v Phoenix Suns

After playing a year with little to no expectation and flourishing as one of the go-to guys on the roster, the big man will have an entirely different experience next year that could either make him even better or stunt his development. 

With ball-dominant players like Rose and Carmelo Anthony in the lineup, it's unlikely that many plays will be drawn up for the man dubbed 'Porzingod'. Instead, it's likely he'll be required to provide the intangibles and feed off scraps. 

New York will now be expected to win most games which means the young star will have to step up his level and play his role effectively every night.

If used correctly, Porzingis can form a big three with Melo and D.Rose and provide a presence inside that gives the team another dimension and offensive threat. But it's down to Jeff Hornacek to make that work. 

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics

At 7-foot-3, Porzingis can run the floor, shoot threes and is a decent shot blocker. He isn't strong enough to bang down low with bigger players, but his finesse and ability to score in multiple ways makes him a huge asset to the Knicks organisation.

The arrival of Noah is one that could hinder K-Porzee. His best position is at center, but due to the defensive strengths of Noah - along with the four-year $73m contract - it's almost likely he'll spend the majority of the season at the power forward spot.

His role on the team will not be as big as it was last year. In one way that can be good for him as there won't be much pressure on him to score and make plays. But on the other hand, he could become disillusioned if he isn't part of the offence regularly and this could impact his overall game.

The player himself has already said he can't wait for the new season to start and how excited he is by the prospect of playing with an elite point guard like Rose. 

Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards

With better players around him, Porzingis should also get better, but it's down to the Knicks to harness his talent and build around him. He is their future.

New York Knicks
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Kristaps Porzingis
Derrick Rose
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Carmelo Anthony
Derrick Rose

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