For all the hype, Kristaps Porzingis is still a rookie, he’s going to be up and down. Such as 28 points against Dallas, then four points against the Jazz last Wednesday, followed by 13 points against the Kings, followed by going scoreless against the Trail Blazers.
It’s normal — unless you are the anointed savior of the New York Knicks. Which has led to talk of Porzingis hitting the rookie wall.
Except Porzingis doesn’t know what you’re talking about, he told the New York Post.
“I don’t think so,” Porzingis said Monday after Knicks practice in Tarrytown. “I don’t really know what a rookie wall is…
“A couple of bad games, it happens to all of us. Not only rookies. I’m just looking forward to the next game,” Porzingis said. “So ups and downs, obviously this is my rookie season.”
That’s rational. It will confuse some Knicks fans.
In his last five games, Porzingis’ usage rate and eFG% are right at his season averages. His defense hasn’t been as sharp, but then the Knicks team defense is tied to those issues. This is still a team with a lot of holes, and it’s going to be a challenge for Porzingis this season as defenses focus more attention on him. Plus he may be feeling the grind.
He’s still right at the top of the Rookie of the Year early rankings (I’d have him second behind Karl-Anthony Towns) and he looks like a guy who can be a cornerstone piece for the Knicks going forward. There will be some interesting tests for him this week when he goes up against Towns and Minnesota, then later Jahlil Okafor and the Sixers. But it’s not about this season with him anyway.