‣ Porzingis made a significant impact on both offense and defense in his Celtics debut, scoring 30 points and making five 3-pointers.
‣ Porzingis’ shooting ability improved spacing for his teammates, allowing them to convert a high percentage of two-pointers and shots at the rim.
‣ Porzingis played a crucial role as a rim protector and drop defender, limiting the Knicks to a low shooting percentage on two-pointers and shots near the rim.
When the Boston Celtics acquired Kristaps Porzingis in the offseason, it was clear that they wanted a player who could provide the best qualities of Al Horford and Robert Williams III. Porzingis, a 7-foot-3 center, brought the ability to space the floor, protect the rim, and score from all areas of the court. In his Celtics debut, Porzingis showed exactly why he was so highly coveted.
With Porzingis on the court, the Celtics had better spacing and shooting efficiency. They converted 65.8 percent of their two-pointers and 80 percent of their attempts at the rim. Porzingis’ shooting ability drew attention from defenders, allowing his teammates to have more room to operate. This was especially beneficial for Jayson Tatum, who finished 8 of 9 at the rim and looked comfortable attacking the basket without a center in the paint.
Porzingis also made an impact on the defensive end. The Knicks struggled to score inside, going 1-of-13 on shots within 6 feet when Porzingis was the primary defender. His length, timing, and discipline disrupted opposing ball-handlers and made it difficult for them to finish at the rim. Porzingis’ presence as a rim protector and drop defender added another layer to the Celtics’ already versatile defense.
While there are still areas for the Celtics to improve, such as Jaylen Brown’s off-ball defense and the offensive involvement of Jrue Holiday, the early signs suggest that Porzingis is fitting in well with the team. He has provided a boost to Tatum’s scoring, added new dimensions to their offensive sets, and given them a reliable interior presence. These were all factors that played into the Celtics’ decision to acquire Porzingis, and it’s clear why he was seen as a valuable addition to the team.