Porzingis, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:
“I’m young, and I always want to be on the floor,’’ Porzingis said. “At the same time, I want to be smart about this. Nothing really to gain the last few games but I think I’ll be back for the last two, three games hopefully. But it’s not my decision at the end of the day.’’
“I really want to come back and play the last few games. It’s nothing we need to rush. I’ll make sure I’m 100 percent, then I’ll be back.’’
It’s obviously no huge deal whether or not Porzingis returns this season to the Knicks, who have four games remaining. They’ve long been eliminated from the playoff race.
But a couple smaller things are at play:
1. Porzingis slumped in the second half of the season. Playing a few more games could help him acclimate to the grind of an 82-game season, which could pay off when these late games matter in future years.
2. Porzingis should be a neck-and-neck race with Nikola Jokic to finish second behind Karl-Anthony Towns for Rookie of the Year. I suspect Porzingis will finish second regardless – New York boosts his popularity, and he implanted an impression as the second-best rookie when voters’ minds were more open – but missing the rest of the season could make this a close race.
Plus, the Knicks already traded their first-round pick. It’ll go to the Nuggets or Raptors. So, Porzingis helping New York win more games carries no downside.
If he’s healthy enough to play without being at greater risk of further injury, he should come back.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s so fun to watch, either.