Wizards

5 stats tell story of Porzingis' career season

Wizards

Kristaps Porzingis' career-high 43 points against the Hawks on Wednesday night may have gone overlooked mostly because he surpassed his previous high on a last-second three in a Wizards loss. But Porzingis has also made a habit this season of putting up big numbers, to the degree this is already arguably the best year of his career and there is still another month left on the schedule.

Here are five stats to put what he's been doing into perspective...

Career-highs in points (23.2 ppg), FG% (49.7%) and 3PT% (38.7%)

Porzingis is posting career-bests in all the biggest offensive categories. Not only is he averaging a career-high in points per game, he has already set a career-high for total points in a season (1300). That's in part because he has been able to stay healthy really for the first time in his prime as a 20-point scorer. The previous years he was able to play a lot of games, Porzingis was younger and not yet the scorer he is now. Porzingis is also shooting career-high percentages pretty much across the board and even averaging a career-high in assists (2.6/g) this season. 

63.0 TS% is second-best in franchise history for 20 ppg scorer

The volume at which Porzingis is scoring is one thing, but when you factor in the efficiency it puts him in a very select group of players in Wizards/Bullets franchise history. With his career-highs in field goal and three-point percentage, plus his 84.7% from the free throw line, Porzingis has a 63.0 true shooting percentage, which factors in all three of those numbers. The only player in franchise history to score 20-plus points per game with a higher TS% was Jeff Ruland (63.3) in 1983-84. But Ruland only made one three that year, Porzingis has already made 120 this season. They got their points differently and Porzingis does so as a more versatile big man. This, however, should remind people Ruland was underrated and, according to Basketball Reference, also had one of the greatest nicknames in franchise history: McFilthy.

 

4th player ever to average 20+ ppg, 8+ rpg, 1.5+ bpg with 100+ threes

Porzingis begins to enter extremely rare territory when you factor in his rebounding, blocked shots and three-pointers. There have been many big men to score, rebound and block shots at the rate that he does, but only a select few have also been able to make outside shots. Porzingis, in fact, is only the fourth player to average at least 20.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while making at least 100 threes in a season. The others were Kevin Durant, Karl-Anthony Towns and DeMarcus Cousins. Porzingis also accomplished the same feat in the 2019-20 season with the Mavericks.

T-4th in contested shots per game (11.4)

As good as Porzingis has been for the Wizards on the offensive end this season, some metrics suggest he's been even better on the defensive end. He is tied for seventh in the NBA this year in blocks per game (1.5) and, according to Second Spectrum, he is altering many more shots. In fact, Porzingis is tied with Jarrett Allen for fourth in the NBA in total contested shots per game. That means he is flying all over the place to defend shooters.

T-2nd in defensive FG% difference (-5.4)

He's also tied with Draymond Green for second in the league in defensive field goal percentage differential. What it means is he holds opponents to 5.4% lower than their season average when they attempt shots while guarded by him. He's tied with Green, a former defensive player of the year, and behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo, another former defensive player of the year winner. That's great company, but here's the thing: Porzingis is defending far more shots per game (17.9) than they are (Antetokunmpo 12.8/g, Green 14.9/g).