Kristaps Porzingis’s early training camp injury may not be the end of the world, but it sure felt like the end of Armageddon. When Krispy (my current nickname of choice) tweaked his left knee during a non-contact drill on Wednesday evening, life flashed before my eyes faster than first-class Leftovers babe Liv Tyler appeared in our 1998 global savior’s.
For a 26-year-old New Yorker with an unhealthy amount of future happiness resting in the hands (and knees) of a 20-year-old Latvian, this felt like a rational response. After initially questioning Phil Jackson’s fourth overall selection, I quickly contracted an incurable “Porzingis Fever” and will never be the same.
Porzingis represents a cultural shift within an organization plagued by a multi-decade-spanning identity crisis. In 2015-16, the Knicks aren’t just rebuilding, they’re also rebranding. Janis’s not-so-little brother happens to be the perfect spokesman.
Since June’s draft, Porzingis has said and done all the right things. With Ivan Drago-esque confidence (and facial expressions), Carmelo Anthony’s first legitimate mentee (apologies, Tim Hardaway Jr.) seems ready to embrace the diverse on and off court challenges headed his way. Whether facing Jahlil Okafor in Vegas Summer League or Berman of The Post at Panini’s NBA Rookie Photo Shoot, Porzingis has yet to shy away from the spotlight.
17 wins shouldn’t be difficult to top (I’m expecting 32), but significant progress comes in many forms. If Porzingis can remain intact and in a practical supporting role (settle down, Willis Reed), he’ll give fans a reason to believe and finally delete Beginnings: Raymond Felton from their DVRs.
It’s only October 3rd, and Porzingis’s highs and lows will surely provoke more fervent responses throughout his rookie tour. Knicks enthusiasts and apologists should brace themselves for an equally bumpy and interesting ride.
October 28th is approaching like an asteroid, and like Liv Tyler’s fictional and real-life fathers, I don’t want to miss a thing.