Anthony Davis' play is evidence that it's best to be patient with Kristaps Porzingis

From ESPN - January 15, 2018

NEW YORK -- Anthony Davis game at Madison Square Garden the other day was the kind of performance the New York Knicks -- and their fans -- hope to get from Kristaps Porzingis at some point.

Davis put up 48 points and 17 rebounds to go with four steals and three blocks in an overtime win Sunday.

Thats the kind of stat line that only a few people on the planet can produce. Davis has done it twice in his five-year career. Hakeem Olajuwon is the only other player to produce those numbers more than once in the past 35 years.

To compile a single-game line such as that, you need a rare blend of size, speed and agility. Porzingis, 7-foot-3 with a remarkable shooting touch, fits the profile.

Will he eventually be able to dominate in the manner that Olajuwon did -- and Davis has? We dont have an answer to that question yet. And thats OK.

Porzingis is just 44 games into his role as the No. 1 option in an NBA offense. There have been flashes of brilliance (30 points per game on 51 percent shooting in the seasons first three weeks). There have been periods of poor shooting and shot selection (20 points per game on 39 percent shooting the past two months).

Would it be smart to draw a conclusion on what Porzingis can and cant do based on either stretch of the season? Probably not.

Just as Davis, the 2012 No. 1 pick, said he wasnt fully comfortable with life as a No. 1 option in the NBA until his fourth season.

My third year, after we got swept by Golden State, that whole playoffs just brought a different mentality to me, he said. Being that guy that [opponents] are scouting for, game planning for you, trying to take you out of the game. Its different. So you have to find different ways to be effective.

Porzingis has been searching for new ways to be effective over the course of the season. Every night seems to bring a new lesson. One game its passing out of double teams; the next, its recognizing a second defender coming from a blind spot when dribbling in the post or how to attack a mismatch without forcing a bad shot.

Im learning this year, Porzingis said with a wry smile on Sunday. Im learning a lot.

One lesson? Try to let the game come to you. Porzingis says he was too caught up earlier in the season with trying to maintain the otherworldly pace he set in the first 11 games. That led to some rushed shots and anxious moments. More recently, he has taken a different approach.

I think now Im starting to realize it doesnt need to be that way. I can just let the game flow and see what happens, he said. I can make the right play and not force and try to get those numbers.

We saw that approach in real time on Monday in the Knicks dominant 119-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Porzingis had 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting and added nine rebounds and two blocks.


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