Kristaps Porzingis has conceded Rookie of the Year to Karl-Anthony Towns
In just about any other season, New York Knicks phenom Kristaps Porzingis would be the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. In 62 games, the 20-year-old is averaging 14.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
He plays in the NBA’s largest market, on a team that’s dramatically better on both ends of the floor whenever he’s on the court, and earlier this season Kevin Durant called him "a unicorn":
Kevin Durant is high on Kristaps Porzingis. Calls him/his skill set a "unicorn" in the NBA. pic.twitter.com/g0VZ7F8MeYArticle continues below ...
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 25, 2016
Despite being a gangly 7-foot-3, Porzingis has also shown the rare ability to move well on defense, whether he’s out on the perimeter, in the paint or all of the above:
7'3 Kristaps Porzingis may be the only Knick that can guard Dame Lillard pic.twitter.com/kQw1NoH3Yh
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) March 2, 2016
Thats a beautiful defensive play and effort by Porzingis to end the half. Hard to believe someone moves like that at 7-3.
— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) March 2, 2016
He has no ceiling, and will be the best basketball player in New York within two or three years.
But even he knows there’s almost no way he actually wins Rookie of the Year, because Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is a player who exists (via The Post):
“It will be tough because Karl is just playing unbelievably,” Porzingis said at Monday’s practice in the suburbs of Denver. “The only option for me is for us to make the playoffs. That’s the main goal. If we play well, I’ll have an opportunity to get it. If we make the playoffs, then it will happen that.’”
Here’s how the two 20-year-olds stack up so far, per Basketball-Reference. Towns might be the best rookie since Tim Duncan, with an unbelievable combination of size, athleticism, touch and intelligence. For good measure, he also did this to Porzingis when the two squared off earlier this season:
There’s no shame in finishing second to Towns. Even though the Knicks are a brutal basketball team, Porzingis rightfully has his eyes on more important team-oriented goals. And beyond that, what really matters here is that watching these two prodigies go head-to-head for the next 10 years is going to be so much fun.