Kristaps Porzingis, once the cornerstone of the New York Knicks, played a big role in the Washington Wizards’ victory over his former team. After the game, Porzingis talked about how his tenure with the team ended, and he expressed regret for how things went down.
“You know, the way the trade happened,” he said. “Like I did some dumb stuff, like some cryptic tweets. What was I even doing? The whole process was just a mess, you know? I didn’t like the way things ended. That wasn’t how I wanted it to end, if it did end, you know?”
This isn’t the first time Porzingis has talked about his messy exit with the Knicks either.
“Now that I’m older, smarter and understand what happened back then, it could have been done differently for sure,” he said back in October. “The ACL [tear], it didn’t help — all of that situation. In the end, maybe sooner or later it would have happened anyway. It’s hard to say. For sure, what I can say is things could have been done differently.”
He finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds against the Knicks, and New York fell down to the 7th seed. This means they would have to compete in the play-in tournament if the season ended today, so that’s a spot they’d want to avoid if possible.
Both Sides Seem Fine
Porzingis had the trajectory of becoming one of the best players in the league before his ACL tear caused him to miss an entire year. While he’s recovered from the injury, he’s settled into a strong second or third option with teams.
We’ve seen him play that role with the Dallas Mavericks and now with the Washington Wizards. He likely won’t be the superstar that Knicks fans wanted to see him become, but he’s been more than fine with his NBA career at this point.
For the season, Porzingis is averaging 22.2 points per game for the Wizards, so he’s been exactly what they’ve asked for.
As for the Knicks, there were some rocky years, but the addition of Jalen Brunson has helped them right the ship and get into the playoff talk. Julius Randle has looked like he’s recaptured his All-Star form, and there’s a sense that if the team can just add another piece or two to their puzzle, they could make a deep playoff run.
Tough Stretch Ahead
The Knicks have been able to take care of their business so far and that’s why they find themselves sitting at 25-21 so far on the year. However, things are about to get more difficult for them as the difficulty of their opponents ramp up.
They have games ahead of them against the Hawks, Raptors, Cavaliers, Celtics and Nets, so it’ll be interesting to see where they stand after those contests. The Hawks and Raptors have grown into mini-rivalries for the Knicks while the Celtics and the Nets are two of the best teams in the league. Brooklyn will be without Kevin Durant, so the Knicks at least have that working for them.
So far, the Knicks have certainly outperformed their preseason expectations, but there’s still a lot of season to go and securing a playoff spot is far from a guarantee.