With Carmelo Anthony finally departing the New York Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis is now seen as the face of the franchise.
The 22-year-old will take on the responsibility of leading the team and the organisation is keen to build around him for years to come.
Porzingis definitely has the talent but it remains to be seen if he has the temperament and personality to deal with being the biggest star in the league's biggest market.
He will have to develop a thick skin if he is to turn the Knicks into a successful team again and deal with criticism as he'll have to accept much of the responsilbity when they lose games.
Unfortunately for the big man, this has already started after their ugly 117-83 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. But the criticism aimed at the Latvian came from a surprising source.
During a half-time ad break, a hot mic caught Knicks analysts Alan Hahn and Wally Szczerbiak ripping into the power forward for his performance.
“The other thing you could do is kill Porzingis for being minus-20 in 16 minutes,” Hahn said to Szczerbiak. “Dude, like come on, man. You’re a star. This what you’re doing out? You’re just out there?”
The pair are entitled to their opinions, but it didn't come across very well as they were on the team's own MSG network.
It was just a pre-season game but the Knicks were behind by as many as 38 points, and Porzingis was so far below his best.
His dreadful night ended after the first half with a sore right hip after he posted six points and three blocks while being held to a horrible minus-20.
Things didn't improve last night either for New York as they were beaten 117-95 by a James Harden-inspired Houston Rockets team.
It's clear that defence is a major concern for the Knicks and head coach Jeff Hornacek has already admitted that it will take time to improve on that end of the floor as their roster is filled largely with offensive-minded players.
Speaking after the Nets loss, however, Porzingis believes the key to improving defensively is to get back to basics and do the simple things.
“We’re focused on the wrong things. We have to keep it simple and make it easy on ourselves," he said. "Play one-on-one defence and guys know I’ll be protecting the rim. We’re too worried about our rotations. We’re using energy on the wrong things."
They will certainly have to cut out these bad habits if they are to stand an outside chance of making the playoffs this year.News Now - Sport News