NBA

Kristaps Porzingis.

Kristaps Porzingis credits Kobe Bryant for his hot start to the season offensively

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Kristaps Porzingis has started the season on a tear and is fully embracing his role as the franchise player for the New York Knicks.

The Latvian posted a career-high 38 points in their 116-110 win over the Denver Nuggets last night.

It was the big man's fifth 30-point outing in the first six games and he inspired New York to their third straight win after beginning the campaign with as many losses.

Porzingis has been unstoppable on the offensive end to start the year and is excelling as the go-to guy on that end of the floor for his team.

It's clear to see that he's playing with a more aggressive style which is paying dividends.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, the 22-year-old credited Kobe Bryant for influencing his new approach.

"I watched a Kobe interview, the game he had 81, he said he never stopped to think, ‘Oh I got 50. I got 60.’ He just kept going," Porzingis said.

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers

"That’s my mentality always. Whatever is going on I just keep being aggressive, keep playing my game, and once the game is over I check my stats."

The Knicks were confident in building the franchise around the power forward which led to them trading star player Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He has all the skills of a modern big and is a nightmare for opposing defences as he can score in so many ways and is living up to his nickname, 'The Unicorn'.

"I mean, he’s 7'3". What can you do, really?" teammate Tim Hardaway Jr. said of those hoping to slow down Porzingis. "He’s 7'3", can handle the ball, run the lane like a wing. You can’t really – I’m lost for words – you can’t really do much.

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics

"Like I said, we’ll get the ball to the big man all the time as long as he’s producing like this. It was great to watch and be on the floor at the same time he’s doing it."

Porzingis is currently third in the league in scoring with 29.3 points per game on 47.8 percent shooting for the now 3-3 Knicks.

He set himself a goal of making his first All-Star appearance this year and he now looks like a certainty to be getting the nod to feature in Los Angeles in February and go on to become a perennial figure at the showpiece event.

His career night in Madison Square Garden led to "MVP" chants from the crowd inside the famous arena. It may be too early to put him in that conversation now, but if he succeeds in his plan to lead the Knicks to the playoffs, he'll definitely be in with a chance.

Topics:
Eastern Conference
NBA
Kristaps Porzingis
New York Knicks
Atlantic Division
Joakim Noah
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Carmelo Anthony

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