Perhaps nobody embodies the punishing grind of the New York Knicks' 2015-16 season better than Kristaps Porzingis. The rookie phenom -- a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate through the first two months of the season -- is struggling to make it to the finish line.
Kristaps acknowledged his struggles winding down the season in an interview with ESPN's Ohm Youngmisukfollowing a rough 1-11 shooting performance against the Golden State Warriors:
"It is a tough schedule for sure," Porzingis said. "It is a short period. Those five-and-a-half regular-season months, you really need to be locked in and give it your all. I don't want to finish the season with regret and then have five months of offseason work. I want to give it my all."
It breaks my heart to think that the finest rookie to grace the MSG hardwood in three decades would finish this season with a bunch of regrets.
Keeping in line with his ultra-professional attitude, Kristaps doesn't lay any blame for his suddenly irregular minutes at the feet of interim coach Kurt Rambis:
"We are basically playing the same [offense]," Porzingis said. "Kurt makes different decisions and subs differently. It is basically the same thing. My minutes have changed a little bit. They want me to be on the floor for maybe a shorter time but be more intense and active. My job stays the same, so same thing."
"Kurt is a really good coach too," Porzingis added. "It is more us. We are professional. ... I [also] can't say anything bad about coach Fisher. He did a good job. They [Fisher and Rambis] are different but you can learn from both."
Kristaps isn't the only Knick who has appeared less active in the past two months, and he's always pretty intense and serious when he's on the court. I hope Rambis isn't giving the kid too much crap -- the spirit is willing, but the flesh is still under construction.
Thirteen games remain in the astonishing rookie season of Kristaps Porzingis. Here's hoping he can bless us -- and appease his own ultra-harsh standards -- with some great performances.