Has Kristaps Porzingis become the Boston Celtics' most important player?

Feb 9, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) reacts after a
Feb 9, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) reacts after a / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

On February 9, during the Boston Celtics 133-129 win over the Washington Wizards, Kristaps Porzingis showed his worth. The Latvian big man was magnificent, abusing the Wizards in the paint, and exposing mismatches that led to 34 points and a career-high 14 free throws made.

The performance from Porzingis highlighted what the Cs have been missing in recent seasons. The Celtics of old probably would have lost that game without Porzingis because they would have just kept settling for three-pointers.

Ultimately, I think it’s time to start wondering if Porzingis is the most important player on the Cs. 

The different element that Porzingis has brought to the Celtics this season makes this an interesting conversation. The ability that Porzingis has to bully smaller guards or forwards makes him a matchup nightmare. Throughout this season, the Celtics have won games by letting Porzingis dominate in the paint or high post area. The days of Boston being flustered by zone defenses are long gone.

Porzingis has flourished this season, averaging 20.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game (he should have been an All-Star). Although Jayson Tatum is the Celtic's number one option and the best player, I wonder if Porzingis is more important to the team’s pursuit of Banner 18.

With the ability to dominate the paint and expose mismatches, I think Porzingis could be more valuable in the postseason. I’m not trying to take away from Tatum’s greatness, I just think Porzingis has brought a new element that is vital to a championship run.

Without Kristaps Porzingis delivering, the Boston Celtics can't win a title this season

The importance of Porzingis also lies in his health/availability. I think it's safe to say that the Cs can’t win a title without Porzingis this season, which speaks to his overall importance.

Overall, it will be interesting to see how Porzingis closes out his first season in green. Because he may singlehandedly answer the question of whether this team has what it takes to be the last one standing come June.