While unicorns may not exist, that's exactly why Kristaps Porzingis has been regarded as one so early on in his career. The NBA hasn't seen a player quite like him. At 7'3", Porzingis is a versatile talent with multiple tools. He can shoot from just about anywhere on the floor, man the middle with a lengthy frame on defense, and can even put the ball on the floor a little bit.
Summary: he has all the makings of a star.
What makes Porzingis an all the more unique specimen is the fact that he's coming into his own, all while embracing the bright lights of the Big Apple. He plays with energy, engages the Knicks' fan base, and is continuously eager to learn more. Off the court, he carries himself with poise and is maturing rather quickly.
All in all, the Knicks are lucky to have him. Porzingis is on the cusp of greatness.
As New York opens up their 70th season, ending a three year playoff drought is a primary goal. In order to help prove he can build a contender as an executive, Phil Jackson took it upon himself to make bold moves in the offseason. The hope is that the team's new acquisitions will help prove Jackson capable. Derrick Rose is out to prove he can still play at a high enough level. Joakim Noah, much like Rose, wants to show that he can remain healthy while also proving that his career is not already on the decline. Brandon Jennings will be looking to thrive as a sixth man while playing for his next contract. Courtney Lee will need to be more than an average glue guy in order to properly earn the one he just signed. The list goes on.
Of course, Carmelo Anthony still stands atop of the food chain. At this point in his career, no one will deny his star prowess. Can he lead? Can he win big on an even grander stage? That's still up for debate when it comes to the NBA hardwood. Nevertheless, Jackson has finally put the pieces in place to grant the Knicks' resident star the opportunity to give many in the basketball world what they still crave from him.
But alas, the key here is still Porzingis for many reasons. Even at the young age of 21, he has the potential to average upwards to 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. If the Knicks are contending come February, Porzingis will be an all-star. Increased chemistry and pick & roll action with Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings, coupled with Jeff Hornacek's widely spread and fast paced offense, will undoubtedly aid that progression. On defense, Noah should act more like a mentor and try not to overshadow his new front court mate.
The Knicks are interestingly between a rock and a hard place. This summer's acquisitiona signify that the team is going for the gusto and aiming to compete once and for all under Jackson's guidance. They will need to be careful not to allow Porzingis' ascension to get lost in the shuffle.
There are plenty of dominating offensive players around him, but hopefully each one can alter their game a bit in an effort to make him better. Anthony's own unselfishness, punctuated by a career-high 4.2 assists last season, was a good starting point. He understands that Porzingis (no longer he himself) will be headlining the Knicks' potential future success. Despite not having many draft selections in recent years, New York has gathered up a handful of youngsters worth taking gambles on. As they look to compete in this shorter window with the current core, the others can develop and prepare. When the time comes, Porzingis will lead that charge on his own.
As subtle as the signs may be despite having more notable names in town, the Knicks' efforts need to be centered around Porzingis. He, more than any other player on this roster, holds the keys to the future. If the Knicks go about it the right way, they can open the door to that path sooner than later.