The New York Knicks finished 12th in the Eastern Conference last season, and Kristaps Porzingis said that the campaign lost its joy. 

After getting off to a 16-13 start in December of last year, the New York Knicks hit a snag and went on to win just 15 of the following 53 contests. Despite posting substantial numbers for the year, Kristaps Porzingis felt the fun diminish as the losing compounded.

“Yes, it was a tough year,” said Porzingis while on Mike Francesa’s WFAN show, according to the New York Post’s Marc Berman. “We won a lot of games in the beginning because of our talent. I could tell right away it wasn’t going to keep that up for the whole season. It started to go downhill; it wasn’t fun anymore. It was not a very enjoyable season.”

In 66 games, Porzingis averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds a night while shooting 45 percent from the floor. New York was 26-40 in the contests he played.

The dysfunction of the Knicks’ front office didn’t help with the joy in the locker room. Around the time of this year’s past draft, former executive Phil Jackson was reportedly shopping Porzingis, hoping to land a higher selection. That never happened. I think the fanbase would’ve burned down Madison Square Garden.

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Porzingis has become a New York City icon after just 11 games. He’s second in the league in scoring at 30 points a night, and he’s doing so while shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 38.0 percent from three. The Zinger has been almost impossible for anyone to guard because he can get his shot from anywhere at any time — and he’s 7-3.

“I’m getting a lot of love from people,” continued Porzingis. “It’s been like that since I got drafted. A lot of people supporting me because I was getting booed and had an interesting beginning. People are supporting, especially when you’re doing good. It’s great to get the love from the fans.”

The Knicks are one of this year’s biggest surprises. A franchise who fans expected to tank sits at 6-5, tied for fifth in the Eastern Conference. Trading Carmelo Anthony opened up a more liberal style of basketball, and the team is confident in having Porzingis as their go-to guy. Jeff Hornacek has coached his team to the eighth-best offensive rating in the NBA. Other guys have been solid, but you can’t overstate just how big of a piece Porzingis is to the Knicks’ offense.

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