Brad Stevens’ Analysis of Kristaps Porzingis Should Fire Up Celtics Fans

Kristaps Porzingis

Getty Center Kristaps Porzingis has made quite an impact in his first year with the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics are loaded with talent, but they wouldn’t be where they are without center Kristaps Porzingis.

Brad Stevens, Boston’s president of basketball operations, brought Porzingis to town during an offseason trade that saw veteran point guard Marcus Smart head to the Memphis Grizzlies. The move initially had Celtics fans upset as Boston’s heart and soul was on the move. Porzingis, however, had made Smart’s departure easier to swallow. The 7-foot-2 center has been everything the Celtics wanted, and Stevens recently said the best is yet to come.

Brad Stevens Believes Kristaps Porzingis Will Only Get Better

Porzingis has been exactly what the doctor ordered for the Celtics. A strong two-way player, he’s been a rim protector on defense and a floor stretcher on offense. He takes plenty of pressure off Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as Boston can spread the ball around. Those three, with Derrick White and Jrue Holiday, give Boston arguably the best starting five in the NBA.

While Porzingis is averaging 20.2 points and 6.9 rebounds on a star-studded team, Stevens believes the best is still to come from his center.

“I think he can keep getting better,” Stevens said during a radio interview with WEEI in Boston. “I think that’s a huge emphasis for our whole team. Individually, we all should be focused on that. Collectively, we should all be focused on that, but I saw a couple of plays, especially in the third quarter when he switched on the guards yesterday (against the Philadelphia 76ers). He made it a lot harder.

“He’s doing some things that I think he can continue to grow. When these guys are in their 20s or even their 30s — shoot, Al Horford is 37 — I don’t think we should put ceilings on where they can go as far as getting better an improving. He has done that throughout the course of his career. I’m not surprised that he’s had a huge impact on our team, and I’m not surprised that he keeps getting better as the year goes on.”

Stevens Says Porzingis Just Might Be Hitting His Prime

Porzingis is in his ninth NBA year, although he missed the entire 2018-19 season with a torn ACL. Selected by the New York Knicks with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Porzingis played with three different teams before hooking on with the Celtics this season.

Many believe Porzingis’ best season came a year ago during the second year of his two seasons as a member of the Washington Wizards. He racked up a career-high 23.2 points and pulled down 8.4 rebounds. In Washington, he was a primary offensive weapon. In Boston, he’s surrounded by offensive talent on a team that spreads the ball around. This season, just might be his best. It certainly has been his most impactful.

The 28-year-old from Latvia may just now be hitting his prime, according to Stevens.

“He’s another guy, age-wise, in a lot of ways is just entering his prime,” Stevens said. ‘He’s had a huge impact, but I think it could just go up.”

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