New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis was absent against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday as a result of an unidentified illness, per ESPN.com's Ian Begley. However, he has been cleared to return to the lineup.
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Porzingis to Return vs. Warriors
Tuesday, March 15
Porzingis Remains Highlight of Dismal Knicks Season
Porzingis has been one of the few bright spots in a dreadful season for the Knicks. According to ESPN.com, his 18.19 player efficiency rating is the third-highest in the NBA among rookies, and he's averaging 14.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. He's also seemingly leading the league in thunderous putback dunks:
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New York has a 0.5 net rating per 100 possessions when Porzingis is on the court, per NBA.com. Cleanthony Early is the only other player to earn that distinction, and he has played just 34 minutes this year. In addition, the Knicks have a minus-5.9 net rating when Porzingis is off the floor. That mark trails only the team's minus-6.2 rating when Carmelo Anthony is on the bench.
The team's draft history is littered with numerous disappointments—in the years when the Knicks have had first-round picks—but the 20-year-old Latvian is an unqualified success. He almost single-handedly gives fans optimism about the overall direction of the organization.
While the Knicks are all but out of the Eastern Conference playoff race, Porzingis' return is a welcome sight.