A shower of boos was the first thing that Kristaps Porzingis heard from Knicks fans, the night he was drafted by the team.
Nowadays, those same fans are cheering for him just as loudly.
Just a few weeks into the season the rookie has received nicknames like "Godzingis" and "Three-Six Latvia" for his extraordinary play so far.
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Towering over the competition
At 7 ft 3 inches tall, Porzingis has been compared to fellow seven-footer Dirk Nowitzki, primarily for his ability to have a delicate long-range shooting touch.
With his height, he simply towers over defenders across the league and it allows him to improve his three-pointer while still keeping his defensive game strong.
The rookie showed his potential on both sides of the ball on Saturday night against the Rockets. He scored 24 points and complemented it with 14 rebounds and 7 blocks.
When he was drafted, he was greeted by boos, but Knicks coach Derek Fisher talked about the skills that were put on display Saturday, saying that this is what Knicks President Phil Jackson saw when he drafted them:
“Everybody, of course, was fascinated by the shotmaking,” Fisher told reporters after Saturday’s game. “
But we thought the activity on the defensive end was one thing that would really give him a chance to be good.”
Forget, present day, Porzingis is starting to go after the Knicks record books. While he has had great defensive games this season, Porzingis set career highs with his seven blocks over the weekend.
Not only that, but he is just the sixth Knicks player to have swatted the ball away more than seven times and by the looks of it, this won’t be the last time.
With the way that he has been playing, Porzingis is shaping up to break the Knicks record for 10 blocks in a game. The record, currently held by both Dikembe Mutombo and Joe Meriweather, was last set by Mutombo in 2004.
Porzingis didn’t stop at defense when it came to writing in the record book. His 24 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 blocks made him only the second player to reach that level as a 20-year old. The only other has been Shaq who did it twice.
At the time of the draft, it was clear fans didn’t expect much from Porzingis this season or maybe even at all, but he’s risen past that and shown New York and the NBA what he is made of.
He is going to be an integral member of the Knicks going forward and fans are hoping his skill is here to stay.