VIDEO: Kristaps Porzingis nominee for January’s Rookie of the Month
Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers will alternate on a weekly diary for NBA.com covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off. This week: Porzingis discusses being in contention for Rookie of the Year and what the award would mean to fans in New York and his native Latvia.
Rookie of the Year is secondary for me. It’s nice to have that recognition and that people recognize what I’m doing for the team. But the best reward is making the playoffs and the team having success there. If that happens then I’ll be able to feel better about the season.
I follow other rookies because I’ve gotten to know some of the guys and we stay in touch. Obviously I’m following the NBA, anything about it, so part of that is I’m paying attention to how the rookies did every game. It’s fun to follow those guys. Hopefully I can play a lot of years with all those guys I’ve met.
Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor, they’re playing at a fantastic level right now. They’re good for their teams and their making a lot of plays for their teams. Those two are the best rookies I’ve seen. It’s between us three. Those guys are playing really good basketball and I’m trying to do the same thing. I don’t know how you evaluate who’s been the best. Is it team success? Is it only individual success? But they’re good for their teams.
Winning the award will just show a lot of people who thought I wasn’t ready that I was actually ready my first season. That’s nice to get an award. But it all starts with team success. If the team wins, that’s when all those kind of awards come. That’s the main focus. But obviously it would be very nice to receive awards like that.
I think winning Rookie of the Year would mean a lot to people in New York. We could give them some hope that we’re heading in the right direction and I can be a part of that. That would not only be nice for us, the team, but especially for the city and the fans. They’ve been waiting for that.
And I think people in Latvia would be extremely proud of me. It’s not every day we have a player in the NBA and especially one that is able to play in the first season. They would be really proud of me. That’s one of the things I’m trying to do, make them proud.
I don’t know exactly how big it would be there. I think a lot of people know who I am, but I don’t know if they know much about what the rookie award is. They would all be
really happy about it and for me. I don’t think it would be like a championship celebration, but I think they would definitely be happy for me.