Porzingis during a Knicks game in Dec. 2017
|Full name||Kristaps Talisovich Porzingis|
|Born||August 12, 1995|
|Listed height||7 ft 3 in (2.21 m)|
|Listed weight||240 lb (109 kg)|
|Professional basketball career|
|No. 6 – Dallas Mavericks|
|NBA Draft||2015 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4|
|Selected by the New York Knicks|
|Playing career||2011-present (9 years)|
|2015–2019||New York Knicks|
|Career highlights and awards|
Kristaps Porziņģis (born August 12, 1995) is a Latvian professional basketball player for the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected by the New York Knicks with the fourth overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.
New York Knicks (2015–2019)
On April 16, 2015, Porziņģis entered the 2015 NBA draft, according to a report from agent Andy Miller. After gaining a season more of experience, he became known as a lottery pick and a potential top-5 selection. He drew interest from teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, who had the No. 2 pick and had several personnel that had seen Porziņģis play in Spain. He was compared with players such as Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki, but also Darko Miličić, a former lottery selection widely considered a draft bust. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote, "Porziņģis has an innate awareness about the way the American public sees a young, long European teenager. He comes to the NBA with the full understanding that popular basketball culture declares him guilty until proven innocent of the basketball crimes of Darko Miličić and Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Andrea Bargnani. He's considered a stiff, a bust, a blown lottery pick until he doesn't become one..."
On June 25, 2015, Porziņģis was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft by the New York Knicks. He was booed by some New York fans upon being drafted, but vowed to change the fans' opinions on him from negative to positive. On the same night, the New York Knicks traded for Porziņģis' teammate from Sevilla, Willy Hernangómez, who was originally drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers as a 35th overall pick. Porziņģis became the highest drafted Latvian and Baltic player in NBA history.
2015–16: Rookie season
On July 30, 2015, Porziņģis signed his rookie-scale contract with the Knicks. On October 28, 2015, he scored 16 points in his NBA debut, leading New York to a 122–97 season-opening win over the Milwaukee Bucks. He was 3 of 11 from the field and 9 of 12 from the line. On 21 November 2015, he had 24 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots to lead the Knicks to a 107–102 victory over the Houston Rockets, becoming the first 20-year-old to post such a stat line in a single game since Shaquille O'Neal in 1992–93.
He became the first rookie to reach those totals since Tim Duncan in 1998. On December 3, 2015, he was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in October and November. He ranked third among all rookies in scoring (13.7 ppg) and was second in rebounding (9.3 rpg) and blocked shots (1.89 bpg) for October and November. He went on to claim Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honours for December and January as well. On 12 February 2016, he scored 30 points for Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge. On March 23, 2016, he tied a career high with 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 115–107 win over the Chicago Bulls. He was one point short of becoming the first rookie since Patrick Ewing to put up 30 points and 10 rebounds in one game for the Knicks.
Porziņģis appeared in 72 of the Knicks' 82 games in 2015–16, missing the final seven games of the season due to a right shoulder strain. He finished with averages of 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.9 blocks per game. Porziņģis finished second in the NBA Rookie of the Year Award voting behind winner Karl-Anthony Towns, and earned NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.
2016–18: Rise to stardom
On November 16, 2016, Porziņģis scored a career-high 35 points in a 105–102 win over the Detroit Pistons. On December 11, 2016, he recorded 26 points, 12 rebounds and a career high-tying seven blocks in a 118–112 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. On January 19, 2017, he came off the bench for the first time in his NBA career after returning from a four-game absence due to a sore left Achilles tendon. He subsequently scored 15 points in a 113–110 loss to the Washington Wizards. During the 2017 All-Star Weekend, Porziņģis played for Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge and won the Skills Challenge.
In the Knicks' season opener the following season, on October 19, 2017, Porziņģis had 31 points and 12 rebounds in a 105–84 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. On October 30, 2017, he scored a career-high 38 points in a 116–110 win over the Denver Nuggets. Less than a week later, on November 5, Porziņģis set a new career high with 40 points in a 108–101 win over the Indiana Pacers. Porziņģis was subsequently named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday, 30 October through Sunday, 5 November. Porziņģis would record the best start to a season for Knicks player, earning 300 points through 10 games, two more than Bernard King had to open the 1984–85 season, and his performances continued, where, on January 23, 2018, he was named an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve.
However, on February 6, 2018, in a 103–89 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Porziņģis tore his left ACL. He was subsequently ruled out for the rest of the season.
2018–19: Injury and recovery
In October 2018, the Knicks decided against signing Porziņģis to a rookie extension, a move that will give New York an extra $10 million in cap space in the summer of 2019 while making Porziņģis a restricted free agent in the offseason. Due to recovering from his ACL injury, Porziņģis did not play for the Knicks to begin the 2018–19 season.
Dallas Mavericks (2019–present)
On January 31, 2019, after a meeting with the Knicks left franchise officials with the impression that he wanted to be traded, Porziņģis was traded alongside Trey Burke, Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr., an unprotected 2021 first-round draft pick, and an additional top-ten protected 2023 first round draft pick. He sat out the remainder of the 2018–19 season, healing from his ACL injury. On July 12, Porziņģis agreed to re-sign with the Mavericks on a five-year maximum contract worth $158 million.