The New York Knicks are attempting to get out of the pit they dug themselves into this NBA season. Despite the notable improvement in the leadership style of Carmelo Anthony, the Derrick Williams squad remains at the bottom of the rankings. Moreover, it looks like the dismissal of Derek Fisher as head coach failed to substantially change the performance of the basketball squad. To add to their woes, it looks like breakout star Kristaps Porzingis has finally reached the end of the line.
In a heartbreaking 94-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the New York Knicks watched their NBA playoff dreams slip further away. Amid the confusion in the hardwood court, the slipping shooting accuracy of the 20-year-old rookie caught the attention of the media and fans. Statistics show that Porzingis recorded a six out of 17 shots. Meanwhile, the Latvian's free throw stats was 10 of 11.
"It feels terrible to let my team down," said Porzingis of his performance, according to the New York Post. He added, "I know how hard we fought to get back in the game and be right there. So it's tough but a learning experience for me."
Prior to this disappointing match up, Phil Jackson already predicted that Porzingis will find it incredibly challenging to keep up with the expectations set from his initial performances. That is, the New York Knicks president shared that the rookie will soon find himself lacking in the hardwood court. However, fans of the European need not be alarmed. Jackson pointed out that hitting a "wall" is typical among rookies.
"Our phenom kid who surprised everybody hit the wall, and it's been tough for him in the process," Jackson said, according to ABC News.
For Kurt Rambis, however, the recent performance of Porzingis is nothing unusual. In fact, the New York Knicks head coach reminded the fans of the rookie's untapped potential. Rambis went on to note that Porzingis is still in the early stages of his career in the NBA. Hence, fans can still expect a lot from his in the years to come.
He said via Today's Fast Break, "Five years from now, you and I will not be having this conversation. I think he's going to be that good. But he's got to learn how to do [convert close scoring opportunities]. He's got to keep that aggressive, forward-thinking kind of mindset and not just settling for outside shots. We're trying to break him of that habit so that he sees a bigger picture and [is] not just a 3-point shooter."
However, Rambis pointed out that the 20-year-old will need to work hard if he intends to excel in the league. The interim head coach noted that Porzingis will need to work on his physique to be able to compete with the more aggressive stars in the NBA today.
"He's going to get physically stronger and he's going to be able to brace himself when there is physical contact and nudges," Rambis shared of Porzingis' succeeding steps moving forward. He added, "And he's also going to be able to finish with either hand inside. But it only comes from him attacking the basket and being aggressive."