New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis definitely deserves his All-Star accolades. However, he should be a starter, not a reserve.
“Dream of mine came true,” Porzingis told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I’m an All-Star this year and it’s only the beginning.’’
Tuesday night Porzingis tweeted a photo of himself high-fiving fans with the caption “Just a kid from Latvia.” The tweet was sent after he learned about being named an All-Star from his brother Janis.
Just a kid from Latvia… pic.twitter.com/NTQLIQN9JT
— Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) January 23, 2018
“He was the first one to text me,’’ Porzingis said of Janis. “He let me know. I called him on FaceTime. It was a good moment for us. We’ve been through a lot, been working hard to achieve something that’s never been done before for a Latvian. It’s pretty special.”
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek is also ecstatic that Porzingis is an All-Star.
“I’m thrilled for Kristaps and proud of him for all the preparation he did to get himself ready for this season,” Hornacek said, per the Knicks website. “He has established himself as a team leader through his hard work on both ends of the floor, and is well on his way to becoming one of the premier players in this league.”
Porzingis is in his third season but this is the first time that he has been named an All-Star. However, this won’t be the first time that the Unicorn has been a part of the All-Star festivities. He has participated in the Rising Stars Challenge twice, last year and in 2016.
But the question is, does Porzingis deserve to be an All-Star? The answer is undeniably yes. He has played well this season and seems to be unstoppable on offense. He has become one of the NBA’s biggest stars and is also one of the league’s top players.
This season, Porzingis is averaging a career-high 23.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and an NBA-leading 2.34 blocks. He is the only player in the league this season to have at least 955 points, 275 rebounds, 95 blocks, and 75 three-pointers.
The Latvian native started this season as the youngest player in NBA history to score 30 or more points in five of his first six games. This season he has scored at least 30 points and three blocks in six games, which is tied with Anthony Davis for the most in the NBA. The Unicorn also became the first player in NBA history to score at least 35 points, have 10 rebounds, five blocks, and five three-pointers in one game.
While Porzingis being named an All-Star isn’t a surprise since he’s having the best season of his career, how he got named an All-Star is surprising. Porzingis got edged out by Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid in the voting to be a starter. According to Ian Begley of ESPN, Porzingis was voted ahead of Embiid by the players, but the media and the fans voted Embiid over Porzingis.
Media and fans voted Joel Embiid over Kristaps Porzingis. Players voted Kristaps Porzingis ahead of Embiid.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) January 18, 2018
As a result of the voting, Porzingis made the All-Star game by being named a reserve. Are you kidding me? There is no way that Porzingis should be a reserve. He has played well enough to be a starter for the All-Star game and ultimately deserves a starting spot for the All-Star game. According to Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com, Embiid finished in fourth place in the player vote and his stats are similar to Porzingis’s.
So why did Embiid get named a starter and not Porzingis? It might be because Embiid has been better on defense than Porzingis. However, when it comes to offense he has has a slight edge over Embiid. Even Porzingis himself knows that he should be a starter.
“Players know,” Porzingis told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. That’s all I’m going to say.”
While players might have known that Porzingis should be a starter, apparently the media and the fans didn’t think so. Porzingis will be on LeBron James’ team for the All-Star game, which is February 18 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Maybe next year he will fulfill a starter role for the All-Star game, which is how it should be.