The best player on the New York Knicks so far this season? Kristaps Porzingis, although he tries to credit Carmelo Anthony all the time. So good he could end up making the All-Star game, maybe even start in it?
Starting in the All-Star game doesn’t always have to do with being good. It’s often a popularity contest, although usually the best players are also the most popular ones. So is Porzingis already in the right kind of spot on the venn diagram to land a place on the All-Star roster not just due to coaches appreciating him, but also due to voters getting him in? It seems unlikely, but not too far fetched, especially when you see how close Porzingis came in last season.
These were the rankings and votes for Eastern Conference frontcourt players in 2016:
- LeBron James, 1,089,260
- Paul George, 711,595
- Carmelo Anthony, 567,348
- Pau Gasol, 566,988
- Andre Drummond, 515,296
- Kristaps Porzingis, 473,579
Wow. That’s pretty close. With Porzingis playing on the Knicks, being some sort of rookie darling and getting plenty of votes from Latvia. he was less than 100,000 votes below his teammate, Anthony. Will this year be this season he doesn’t just displace Anthony as the Knicks best player, but also as the most popular one?
Porzingis doesn’t have Gasol to worry about anymore. Paul George got a lot of sympathy votes last season due to his comeback, and isn’t impressing this season, and he isn’t healthy right now either. Drummond has slightly regressed so there’s no general hype. This puts Porzingis in a pretty good spot. Al Horford might get more votes because he’s playing for the Boston Celtics, and Dwight Howard could eat away at votes too, although he’s not getting in through the front door. Combine that with this trend of booing Anthony at Knicks games, and Porzingis might have a shot at making it in. Jimmy Butler could pose a problem for him, being a small forward now. He received over 560,000 votes last season. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s rise could also hurt Porzingis.
But even if Porzingis isn’t voted in (Remember, Anthony is still a very popular player), he could be in the All-Star game through the bench. He leads the Knicks in PER and his eFG% is at 57.1, a lot higher than Melo’s. Actually, Porzingis leads the Knicks in eFG among players who get to play over 24 minutes a night. He’s averaging 21 points per game on 32.9 minutes a night. With all the criticism Phil Jackson receives for his team building, Porzingis almost seems like a steal considering how well he’s adjusted to the NBA.