Washington Wizards power forward Kristaps Porzingis is looking to prove people wrong during the 2022-23 season.
Regarding the perceived slight, Porzingis said: "Especially this year, I'm coming in with a chip on my shoulder because of the ESPN rank, the this, that, it’s kind of—OK. I use it as gasoline, as energy. I'm looking forward to reminding everybody what I can do on both ends of the floor."
Despite being only 27 years of age, Porzingis has been in the NBA since 2015, which was when the New York Knicks made him the No. 4 overall pick.
The 7'3" Latvian did some great things in New York, including being named an All-Star in 2017-18 when he averaged 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. His season was cut short after 48 games due to a torn ACL, however, and he missed the entire 2018-19 season as well.
Porzingis was traded to the Dallas Mavericks and averaged 20.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in three seasons with the team before getting traded to Washington prior to last season's deadline.
The trade came as something of a surprise, especially since the Mavs only received Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans in return.
Porzingis instantly fit in well with the Wiz, averaging 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.7 three-pointers made and 1.5 blocks in 17 games.
The 2022-23 campaign will mark Porzingis' first full season in Washington, and he will likely be leaned on heavily as the interior complement to star guard Bradley Beal.
While the Wizards have missed the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, they have a talented squad capable of contending for a postseason spot in the Eastern Conference this season, especially if Porzingis succeeds at proving his doubters wrong.