Marquee Boston Celtics offseason addition the key to Banner 18 hopes, says analyst

Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks
Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Houdini has used the term "marquee Boston Celtics offseason addition" interchangeably for both Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis, and it's a toss-up on many nights which player deserves the title.

For the season, though, even Holiday would admit that it's been Porzingis. The Latvian center has averaged over 20 points per game and has two blocks per game; giving the team a new element offensively while giving them everything Robert Williams III did. As complete as Holiday has been as a player, and how perfectly he's complemented the stars with his 43% 3-point shooting, Porzingis is a star in his own right.

Thus, it shouldn't be shocking that Sports Illustrated's Liam McKeone sees Porzingis as the key to the Cs raising Banner 18 at the TD Garden in 2024.

"When his teammates find him, Porzingis is basically taking warm-up shots with how open he is," McKeone prefaced before saying, "They won't always go in, but the Latvian center is a career 36 percent shooter from deep. He'll have nights like Wednesday when he is consistently hitting threes, and that's when the Celtics really start pouring it on.

"That is the key to Boston's championship hopes. When Porzingis is on, the Celtics are borderline unstoppable. How can defenses possibly stop him at the same time as two All-NBA wings and two All-Star caliber point guards? Even when Porzingis is having a bad shooting night, he's still a huge threat that defenses have to account for."

Kristaps Porzingis not content with star-level production for Boston Celtics

Porzingis's attitude on his own dominance -- that his 27-point outburst on 11/14 shooting and 3/3 shooting from beyond the arc in a 35-point win over the top-four OKC Thunder wasn't dominant enough -- should have Celtics fans confident he'll be a major factor for them come playoff time.

“To be honest, my legs are a little bit better,” Porzingis said of his big night (h/t MassLive). “But mostly it’s just starting to turn up a little bit more, you know? Understanding that we have like playoffs soon. I want to be at the best, like, best moment for the playoffs. And yeah, just getting into that mindset finishing the regular season strong. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Porzingis has never had this little pressure in his career. On the Dallas Mavericks, he needed to fit in with Luka Doncic. On the New York Knicks, he needed to fit in with Carmelo Anthony and then eventually be the No. 1 option.

But in Boston, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown absorb all the scrutiny. All Porzingis has to do is continue excelling under the radar (as much as a 7-foot-3 giant can at least) and continue to stay consistency.

Then he'll have everything pundits thought he'd be able to achieve in 2015 when he was dubbed the NBA's "unicorn."