Boston Celtics will soon see what they paid for in Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis has given the Celtics a whole new dimension they haven't had in the Tatum/Brown era. As impressive as he's been, the Celtics will soon confront the major elephant in the room: his playoff availability.

Boston Celtics v Chicago Bulls
Boston Celtics v Chicago Bulls / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

It seems like forever ago—even though it's been far from it—but remember when Malcolm Brogdon played for the Boston Celtics? Even if his time with the team didn't end well, Brogdon was pretty much exactly the player the Celtics envisioned him to be when they got him for scraps in 2022. Even if his scoring numbers went down, Brogdon gave the Celtics their first pure scorer off the bench since the early days of Isaiah Thomas.

At the same time, Brogdon sent a harsh reminder of why exactly the Celtics got him for scraps. After playing a big role in helping the Celtics beat the Sixers, he soon suffered a partially torn tendon in his shooting elbow shortly after the Eastern Conference Finals began, which was first reported by The Athletic's Jared Weiss. Brogdon admirably tried to play through it, but it was clear that playing with his injury was, by extension, hurting the team. His game log from Game 3 onward made that evident.

For as good as Brogdon was when he was healthy, he couldn't shake the injury bug that had hampered him for most of his career. That's why it was easy for the Celtics to get him in the first place, and, if we're being brutally honest here, that's why he's been almost entirely forgotten about in Boston since the Celtics traded him.

Now that brings us to Kristaps Porzingis.

What can be said about Porzingis that hasn't already been said? He has been every bit as good as advertised—if not more so. His being the total package as a third banana has made him the complete matchup nightmare the Celtics have always wanted. Best of all, the guy has been all smiles since joining Boston and has said all the right things since coming to Boston from the very get-go.

And yet, the same risks the Celtics took with Brogdon are still very much there with Porzingis.

The Porzingis addition has been regarded as a miracle, and justifiably so, knowing how dominant the Celtics have been this season. While it's not like they gave up scraps to get him - never disrespect Marcus Smart like that - they also got two first-round picks as part of the package. Porzingis may have come off his most efficient year as a pro, and that's continued in Boston, but the trade itself shows Porzingis' value was never that high for a reason.

The talent was always there, but much like Brogdon, the caveat has always been his health. The Celtics have been cautious with Porzingis in that regard much like they were with Brogdon last year. They haven't left anything to chance with him, and it has paid off. But in a few weeks, it will be a whole new ballgame for him.

Kristaps Porzingis faces new challenges with Boston Celtics in the playoffs

The postseason is a different animal, and everyone knows it. Porzingis has answered the call for the Celtics as their third star. However, no matter what he has shown during the regular season, we all know ahead of time that the show really begins in the playoffs.

Even worse, Porzingis doesn't have much to show when it comes to playoff success.

His postseason sample size is the very antithesis of his body frame, having played 10 games total in two playoff series before coming to the Celtics. And both times, his team came up short. While it wasn't necessarily his or anyone's fault, he and the Mavericks faced off against the Kawhi-PG13 Clippers at their peak twice. Porzingis got hurt three games into the first one (where he was playing amazingly) in 2020, but his efficiency went way down in the second one in 2021. Although his performance included a dagger three where he then hilariously looked so nonchalant heading back to the bench.

The circumstances are different this time. He's no longer playing for the underdog like he did with the Mavericks. He no longer faces the pressure of being the star of his team. Hence, he may very well be a playoff legend simply waiting for his chance to spread his wings.

But that all remains hypothetical until he proves it. Despite his talent and what he's shown in Boston, he's an unknown playoff commodity.

Much like with Brogdon, depending on Porzingis in higher stakes is a gamble, but it's one worth taking. Knowing how well he's thrived in Boston, the Unicorn's playoff prospects look promising, though he has a lot to prove. Luckily, he's in the right place to prove it.