Kristaps Porzingis entered the NBA with many doubters, but the rookie is taking the league by storm.
In June the New York Knicks drafted Porzingis with the fourth overall selection in the NBA Draft.
The 7-foot-3 Latvian walked up the stage to an array of boos from New Yorkers who didn’t believe he was ready for the big leagues.
Porzingis, at only 240 pounds, was said by some to be too skinny to make an impact.
Nobody’s chirping now.
Porzingis’ play this season makes the former doubters look silly. Porzingis, starts for the Knicks, is averaging 13 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks while playing 27 minutes per game.
He’s posterized stars, veterans and newcomers alike and leads the league in put-back dunks.
Porzingis said he is a workhorse who will continue to battle on the court.
“I’m still skinny, I’m still light, but I fight hard and I can’t back down to anybody,” he said.
“That’s been my game. A lot of people didn’t know my game. So that’s why they thought, ‘Skinny white guy, he’s not going to be physical.’ But I still fight for those rebounds and try to do my job on the court.”
His play has generated positive buzz around the league from players and coaches alike.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott told reporters the youngster will be “really special one day.”
The King himself, LeBron James, also sees tremendous value in the rookie.
“I think he’s a pretty good player,’’ James told reporters.
“I think he has a bright future if he continues to get better. He will get stronger and I think he knows how to play the game. I think it was a good decision for them.”
Despite the praise, Porzingis has areas where he can improve. He hasn’t been the most accurate shooter, tallying a sub-par 40 percent from the field and 26 percent from 3-point range.
But there’s still plenty of time for him to polish his game.
Many believed it would take Porzingis years to even develop a passable NBA game, but the Latvian has already proven there is a place for him in the league.