Has Kristaps Porzingis Overtaken Carmelo Anthony as the Knicks' Superstar?
In his first four full seasons with the team, he paced the team in usage rate every season, including leading the NBA with a usage rate of 35.6% in 2012-13.
That began to change last year with the arrival of Kristaps Porzingis.
The Latvian rookie was clearly talented, but most did not know what to expect in his 19-year-old season. Despite only shooting 42.1% from the floor, Porzingis was second on the team with 14.3 points per game on a usage rate of 24.6% last season.
Although they were not eye-popping numbers, it did cause Anthony to drop below 22 points per game and a 30% usage rate for the first time since his second season in the NBA.
That trend has continued this season, as Anthony has maintained a solid 22.3 points per game while Porzingis has bumped his scoring up to 20.3 points.
That culminated with a career-high 35 points on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons.
As many, including Derrick Rose noted, Porzingis may be the best player on the team despite being just 20 years old.
Derrick Rose on Kristaps Porzingis: "He's going out here scoring 30 and he really don't know the NBA yet. That's scary."
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) November 17, 2016
Outside of his offensive skill set, Porzingis continues to be a promising player on the defensive side of the ball.
Porzingis had 153 blocks last season on an impressive 5.0% block rate. His game at this point in simply one of the most well-rounded in the league.
There is only one NBA player currently leading his team in both blocked shots and made three-pointers:
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) November 17, 2016
Despite the presence of Anthony and Porzingis, it is actually Derrick Rose who leads the team in touches per game, per NBA.com, at 77.5
However, it is interesting to note that Porzingis has overtaken Anthony for second on the team at 56.9, just above Anthony’s 55.3. Even with fewer touches, Anthony still takes 17.5 field goal attempts per game, while Porzingis only hoists 14.9 shots per game.
New coach Jeff Hornacek has started to balance out lineups, as he often takes Porzingis out a few minutes into the game to make sure both of his stars are getting a big usage without each other.
However, with the Knicks sitting at just 5-7, with a 14.5% chance to make the playoffs, changes may need to be made.
Anthony will certainly fight giving up his status as top dog, but Porzingis is currently a top 20 player in our nERD rankings, while Anthony has plummeted to 62nd.
It may be tough to admit, but it seems evident that Porzingis should be the new king of Madison Square Garden.