Boston Celtics

Kristaps Porzingis: Playing for Celtics has been ‘unreal' experience

"I haven’t stopped smiling being here. I just enjoy being here so much."

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Kristaps Porzingis has now played for four NBA teams, including two marquee franchises in the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.

This season's Celtics squad, which enters the All-Star break with a league-best 43-12 record, is by far the best team he has played on during his eight pro seasons. Porzingis' transition to the Celtics lineup after being acquired in a trade with the Washington Wizards last June has been flawless, and as a result, he's been one of Boston's most valuable players so far.

And it sounds like the veteran center is having a blast playing for the Celtics.

“Of course, coming in, I understood we’re a championship-caliber team,” Porzingis told reporters after Wednesday's blowout win over the Brooklyn Nets. “And what is expected is to win, or the goal is to win. And coming in here, there are things that are being done differently and at a much higher standard than on other teams that I’ve been on. And I think, from the top down, it’s just a really high-level organization.

“And us, as players, we feel that and we know that we have to show up each and every night. There’s many small things that I can point out. But overall, as somebody said earlier, I haven’t stopped smiling being here. I just enjoy being here so much. And to be in this kind of organization, playing for these kinds of fans, it’s unreal.”

Porzingis is averaging 20.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game, while shooting a career-high 53.1 percent from the field. He has made a hugely positive impact at both ends of the floor, and his ability to score in the low post with an impressive repertoire of moves is something recent Celtics teams have lacked.

The primary concern with Porzingis coming into the season was durability. He has missed a ton of games in his career due to injuries. But so far this season, he has been pretty healthy. Porzingis has played in 40 of the team's 55 games so far, and he has avoided any major injuries.

Managing Porzingis' workload after the All-Star break should be one of the Celtics' priorities over the remainder of the regular season. The Celtics are a much different and better team when he's on the floor. If he's healthy in April, May and June, you have to like this team's chances of finally winning Banner 18.

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