New York Knicks stud center, Kristaps Porzingis has points-per-game (PPG) average has dropped by over five points since late December. What is the cause?
Before missing three straight games starting at the end of December, Kristaps Porzingis averaged 20.1 PPG while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from three.
Since then, he has struggled. In games played after December 31, the Latvian is down to 14.9 PPG with a field goal percentage of 43.9 percent and a three-point percent of 34.2.
The question is, what can that production loss be attributed to? Is it just a case of lingering injury effects, or is it something else? Let’s take a look at his shot selection, pre (top) and post-injury (bottom).
Looking at Porzingis’ shot selection, he is putting up fewer shots from five feet or less from the rim. Also, he is hitting them at a lower percent.
This could be attributed to Porzingis not yet having the physical strength and conditioning to fully rebound from a severe injury mid-season. With the lingering effects of a lower leg injury like an Achilles injury, going up strong could be a problem for player of his size. He has also struggled to finish strong on drives since the injury.
Porzingis’ strength, however, doesn’t seem to be a problem. His strength has been on full display since the injury. Steven Adams can attest to Porzingis’ strength:
It's called the "Statue of Liberty" block. Steven Adams, from New Zealand, just doesn't understand. #Porzingis pic.twitter.com/4o3rJvMuv3
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) February 16, 2017
So can Dwight Howard:
Sheeeeeesh. Now that's basketball. Kristaps Porzingis, ladies and gents. #Knicks pic.twitter.com/FgbGqPsGBx
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) January 29, 2017
If not strength, then what?
So is it that Porzingis isn’t getting enough easy looks? Not exactly.
Porzingis’ catch and shoot numbers are virtually identical. He’s averaging the same field goal percentage and averaging only one less point post-injury.
The rest of Porzingis’ numbers look the same, if not more efficient, post injury.
So it must just be he’s getting fewer open shots, right? Again, this is not quite the case.
The Unicorn did get more open looks before the injury. The caveat here is that before getting hurt, he was converting fewer of them. He’s taking better advantage of open shots more often after the injury than before.
Porzingis is doing many things right since the injury. His struggles may just be a case of him needing more touches.
He is only 21 years young. The Knicks have started to move away from getting Porzingis the ball. He is receiving 8.8 fewer touches since the injury.
If the Knicks get back to feeding Porzingis with the same frequency that they were pre-injury, there is a good chance the 7’3” Latvian Unicorn will get back to putting up numbers similar to what he was showing before going down.