New York Knicks star big man Kristaps Porzingis looks as though he’s starting to feel the wear and tear of carrying the franchise.
After the Knicks’ 121-103 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, Porzingis told Marc Berman of the New York Post that he’s starting to feel fatigued.
“I’m tired; I’m tired; I’m so tired right now,” Porzingis said. “I have one day to rest my legs and get back and play better and have more energy and try to bring the team’s energy up. We’re in a tough stretch. The mental part doesn’t help at all. When it’s mentally tough, you don’t have it in you.”
It’s concerning for the Knicks and their fans to hear Porzingis talking like that considering the 22-year-old has played just 32 games so far this season.
Averaging 32.3 minutes per game, his time on the court isn’t anything he hasn’t seen at the NBA level before. In his second year last season, he averaged 32.8 minutes per night.
That being said, Porzingis is the marquee man in New York after the departure of Carmelo Anthony. He’s attempting five more shots per game this year compared to last and his usage percentage is at a career-high 32.7-percent. Last season, his usage mark was more than eight percent less, meaning Porzingis is seeing a lot more of the ball and the action.
His numbers as of late are suggesting he’s feeling the effects of that fatigue. He’s scored 18 or fewer points in three of his last four games as the Knicks are trudging through their worst stretch of the season with six losses in their last seven outings. Porzingis has shot just 38.8-percent from the floor during that span.
The Latvian is still the Knicks’ most valuable player and will likely be an All-Star this season as he’s averaged 23.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. But he knows he needs some help if he wants the Knicks to stay in playoff contention.
That help, at least on the offensive end, comes in the form of Tim Hardaway Jr., who has been out with a stress injury to his left leg for the last 17 games. He is second on the team with 17.8 points per game and is expected to return within the next week or so.
“Obviously having Tim out doesn’t make it easier,” Porzingis said. “Hopefully Tim will be back with us soon and take some of that pressure off me and the other guys.”