Kristaps Porzingis answers the questions: He is the Knicks' go-to guy

Late in Monday’s game at Madison Square Garden, Kristaps Porzingis stepped to the free throw line with a chance to ice another win for the Knicks. The crowd serenaded him with “MVP!” chants.

Porzingis has played at that level during New York’s first six games of the 2017-18 NBA season. After dropping a career-high 38 points in a 116-110 victory over the Nuggets, he is the first Knick ever to eclipse the 30-point mark in five of the team’s first six contests. There’s no longer a question that the 22-year-old “unicorn” is the Knicks’ go-to scorer.

New York traded Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder in late September, making Porzingis the team’s No. 1 option for the first time in his career. He has taken advantage of that opportunity.

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Porzingis is averaging 29.3 points per game in the season’s first two weeks, 11.2 more than his average of a season ago. He has done that on 22.7 shots per game, up from 14.9 last season and 12.3 as a rookie. He has increased his field goal percentage to .475.

“The game looks like it’s slowing down for him,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek told the New York Daily News after the Knicks’ win in Cleveland on Sunday, when Porzingis scored 32. “He’s taking his time, they’re putting guys on him, he knows he can shoot over them.”

The 7-3 Porzingis is shooting 36.3 percent from behind the 3-point line, too, including this make from near midcourt against Denver.

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The Knicks dropped their first three games this season, prompting Hornacek to insert veteran point guard Jarrett Jack into the starting lineup in place of Ramon Sessions. Jack has made it a point to get Porzingis the ball.

In Jack’s three starts, Porzingis has scored 30, 32 and 38 and New York has won all three games. Jack has dished more than five assists in each, including 10 vs. the Nuggets.

“I’m just playing my game, my teammates are trusting me and I’m making shots,” Porzingis said after Monday’s game. 

New York was projected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA. Porzingis’ play has been the reason for its unexpected 3-3 start and hope for the future. 

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