The New York Knicks are ready to start fresh, and so is Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis. As both parties are looking for a clean slate, they want to focus on the future of the team. Said future of the Knicks now sits on Porzingis’ shoulders.
Porzingis will be entering his third year since being drafted by New York. After a tumultuous sophomore year, the Latvian big-man is ready to take on the new responsibility.
Following from New York Daily News’ Frank Isola:
“I am ready for the challenge,” Porzingis told the Daily News in his first interview since returning to the United States on Saturday. “I’ve been preparing myself for this moment.”
“It was important that I disconnected from everything,” he added. “I was working on my game and resting my mind. I kept working hard this summer to put myself in this position. I’m coming in with a fresh mind. I don’t want to carry anything from the previous season.”
The Knicks and Porzingis have had a complicated relationship. Former President of Basketball Operations, Phil Jackson drafted him 4th overall in 2015, much to the immediate chagrin of the fans. Jackson took a risk on taking the European player, and it looks like that pick may be the highlight of his tenure in the Big Apple.
Porzingis skipped team exit meetings at the end of last season because of the chaos that was surrounding the team. Now that he’s back in the states he can begin on building a new legacy in Madison Square Garden.
The team has signaled a shift in focus after sending Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City. Porzingis is now the lone star, and the organization is ready to build around his skillset.
Hopefully, Porzingis can move past all of the antics of last year by continuing to improve on a solid second year. In 66 games last year, he averaged 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game.