Ready to be the face of the franchise in the NBA’s largest market? Ready to be the offensive focal point? Ready to lead his team?
The early answer appeared to be a resounding yes. The Knicks started 6-4, and Porzingis averaged 30 points per game while shooting 51% from the field and 38% on 3-pointers. He established himself as a Most Improved Player candidate.
But New York is 2-7 in its last nine games while Porzingis is averaging just 19 points on 36% from the field and 25% on 3-pointers. He missed a game in that span, one of six he has already missed this season.
After the Knicks lost to the Wizards last night, Porzingis revealed a problem.
Porzingis, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:
“I’m tired, I’m tired, I’m so tired right now,’’ Porzingis said in the visitors’ locker room at Capital One Arena. “I have one day to rest my legs and get back and play better and have more energy and try to bring the team’s energy up. We’re in a tough stretch. The mental part doesn’t help at all. When it’s mentally tough, you don’t have it in you.’’
That’s not encouraging.
Porzingis has already shown problems with durability. He missed 10 and 17 games in his first two NBA seasons. He faded late both years even when on the court. He primarily plays power forward rather than his otherwise-optimal position of center, because he can’t handle the physicality.
Porzingis is just 22. He should get stronger.
But, in the meantime, this is a major impediment to the Knicks winning.