BY JOHN McALEAVEY | You better call me a doctor, feelin’ no pain / Overloaded, down the drain / Somebody get me a doctor / You better call up the ambulance, I’m deep in shock / Overloaded baby, I can hardly walk. / Somebody get me a doctor…
Back when I was blaring this classic Van Halen song on my boom box (remember them), I never thought I would one day be referencing it as I am today. Ever since the NBA season began, I’ve been feeling a little different. Even though its regular season is way too long and tedious; I have found myself interested, almost compelled to monitor one team in particular on a nightly basis. Believe it or not, I am either watching New York Knicks games on television or following them on my phone. Why? Truth be told, I have developed an acute case of Kristaps Porzingis Fever!
For those who have never heard of this, it is something that emanated from Liepaja, Latvia, and it forces basketball fans (or maybe it is just me), to smile uncontrollably when the 7 ‘ 3 “, 240-pound twenty year-old rookie forward is on the court. I am struck by just how hard he plays the game. As a basketball coach (of youth hoops mind you), I love folks who give all they have on the court; guys that empty their tank by going 100% are favorites of mine. Porzingis reminds me of a new puppy that is trying to figure out where he is supposed to be; and so he just runs all over the place, often times out of control. This causes him to pick up needless fouls, but it has also earned him the respect of his veteran teammates which is huge for a “rook”. That he is a fan favorite and integral part of the team so soon is amazing. Kristaps has certainly come a long way from when he was jeered and booed by the NBA Draft’s audience as he ascended the steps to shake Commissioner Adam Silver’s hand.
I remember laughing at the moment myself thinking that Phil Jackson and the Knicks may have just picked another booby prize–in the mold of Frederic Weis. Well, not only does that look to be further from the truth; but it seems as if the Knickerbockers may be holding a winning Power Ball ticket.
Yes, I realize the season is only twelve games old, and the Knicks are a pedestrian 6-6. However, New York didn’t win its 6th game last season until January 19th, so things are improving. Sure Jackson has added some nice complimentary pieces to the mix (Langston Galloway, Arron Afflalo, Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant, etc.); and Carmelo Anthony is healthy again, but the Porzingis effect simply cannot be understated here. The consensus was that he had very good athleticism for someone as big as he is and that his offensive game was advanced and diverse. The knock was that he’d be unable to defend or rebound in “the League” because of his slight build. Well, so far he leads NY in cleaning the glass, averaging 9 boards a game, and trails only Melo in scoring, at 13 points per game. In Tuesday night’s 102-94 victory over the Charlotte Hornets; KP6, went for 29 and 11 in front of all-time great Knick’s big men, Willis Reed and Patrick Ewing. And while we’re a long way from unveiling the Kristaps Pozingis bust in Springfield, MA; it is safe to say the kid has settled in a lot better than I or anyone else thought he would. Now, if I can just find something to help me with this fever? Please feel free to send me your suggestions.
And that is My 2 Sense for this week. As always, thanks for reading.