The New York Knicks have plans to build their franchise around power forward Kristaps Porzingis, but not everyone is thrilled about his recent play.
Porzingis left Sunday’s preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets due to a sore hip, but MSG broadcasters Alan Hahn and Wally Szczerbiak were more interested in the big man’s poor plus-minus than his injury. The two were caught on a hot mic sharply criticizing the 22-year-old rising star during a commercial break.
“The other thing you could do is just kill Porzingis for being minus-20 in 16 minutes,” Hahn said to Szczerbiak, according to a video posted to Twitter. “Dude, like come on, man. You’re a star. This is what you’re doing? You’re just out there? [He’s got] a lot to learn.”
“Minus-20 – for him, he should never let his team…,” Szczerbiak responded before the feed returned to a commercial.
It seemed as though Hahn and Szczerbiak made the comments while planning out the next segment of the broadcast, Szczerbiak made a point about Porzingis’ plus-minus once the play resumed. But regardless of the purpose of the remarks, the optics were bad.
While Porzingis has professed his love for playing in New York in the past, his tenure with the Knicks has been a rocky one. Fans booed when they heard his name called as the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft and he skipped his exit meeting following last season leading to criticism from then-team president Phil Jackson.
The last thing the team needs is another reason for Porzingis to feel uncomfortable playing in Madison Squade Garden, especially with his rookie extension deadline coming in just over a year.
Porzingis scored six points and blocked three shots before exiting the game. Despite outproducing Brooklyn by more than 10 wins last season, the Knicks lost the game 117-83.
The Knicks will play their next preseason game on Monday against the Houston Rockets. Their regular season opener is set for Thursday, October 19 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
You can listen to the hot mic audio for yourself below:
— Steven Neco Cortez (@LifeAsKorleone) October 9, 2017