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Kristaps Porzingis Showing Flashes of Awesomeness

Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

Timing and the size of the sample is everything. Still, there would be no NBA coverage if we were to simply wait for things to play out in a way which columns can make more declarative statements than ones simply highlighting hope, possibilities and guesses of brilliant foresight.

No matter. Even with the undeniable fact of the sample size being smaller than those supposed foot-long sandwiches from Subway, there’s good reason to be pumped up about the future — and maybe even the present — if you’re a New York Knicks fan and a staunch believer in Kristaps Porzingis.

Through (only) three games, the lottery pick is averaging 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and nearly a block (.7) per game. Porzingis is doing so while only playing 23.7 minutes per outing. Those numbers might not make the possibility of Porzingis being really good seem obvious, but considering he’s still a very much developing 7’3″-ish big with freakish athleticism for his size, it certainly makes a case to be optimistic going forward.

Even better news for the Knicks: Porzingis is doing his development while the team is doing some solid things on the court. More so, more tepidly this time, he isn’t getting in the way of current Knicks success.

While Derek Fisher penciled him in as a starter, the Knicks headmaster has limited his minutes and New York is off to a solid 2-1 start to the season. Again, a very small sample size, yet it’s easy to speculate that the Knicks will be better as the season progresses since one of their potential key players is years away from being a finished product, and should make some rather large jumps in productivity during parts of the season — even if they will inevitably be inconsistent ones.

It isn’t only the flashes of offense that’s making the idea of Porzingis as appealing as Christina Ricci. His defense is far better at this point than it should be in a sense. Not that he’s dominating the world or anything, but according to NBA(dot)com, he’s only allowing his opponents to shoot 41 percent (7-17) at the rim while he’s trying to stop them. When comparing that to other players he is or will be compared to — such as Hassan Whiteside: 8-of-20 (40 percent), Andre Drummond: 14-of-27 (51.9 percent), and Jahlil Okafor: 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) (h/t Zach Harper) — that’s rather eye-opening.

However, that might not make many’s eyes attempt to escape their craniums as would some flashy offensive maneuvers. While not exactly a Steph Curry special, Porzingis has done a thing which should make one’s belly shake in glee as if they were just finished eating the finest of hamburgers from the literal palace of cow-food, Burger King:

Yes, that doesn’t look as athletic as one would expect from something as hyped as I recently made it sound, but he isn’t a guard or a small-ish power forward. Porzingis is as tall as Andre The Giant, and I promise you that the latter never did anything as athletic as that. Sure, maybe cooler (see: some cool things he has done), but not as athletic — although, comparing those two acts might make the athleticism value arguable to some.

However, to end that argument, look at the same Porzingis feat with him being surrounded by snow (or glitter…or whatever the hell this genius put in this video):

Regardless, the idea of whatever the hell Kristaps Porzingis was supposed to be when he climbed everyone’s mock drafts and what he currently happens to be isn’t the same. There’s always a large gap between the actual production of a rookie and the idea of what the finished version of that prospect might look like. It’s up to us as fans, media and lovers of hoops to determine how far away the player is or if he will ever get to that point.

There’s no way we can say with certainty that Porzingis is going to get there. Not while using such a small sample size and not while I’m admitting to wishing it’ll happen so badly because of the quality of Vines and other general social media tomfoolery-type content it has created.

Porzingis is a lot of things to a lot of different people. He’s a player who fills many Knicks fans with hope for a better future. For others, he’s that fun Latvian who loves World Star and hip-hop so much that they imagine him being confused by the America he currently inhabits. Finally, to the cool kids, he’s a combination of the two and so much more.

Going back to being somewhat serious here: Porzingis has shown enough glimpses to buy into the idea of his hype if you didn’t prior. Not that it means he’s going to live up to it, or be a rich man’s athletic 4, or a poor man’s {insert tall, good shooting Euro here}, yet it doesn’t mean the glass shouldn’t be viewed as half-full while talking about him.

Merely drink the glass, humans. Just drink it. Give in…because it tastes so good.

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