Apparently, spelling Kristaps Porzingis is rather difficult to these fellow NBA rookies.
Go ahead and spell the last professional club the Knicks’ first round pick played for in 2015 (Answer: Baloncesto Sevilla). How about the Latvian hometown from where he hails (Response: Liepāja)? Or perhaps spelling the New York rookie’s full name is daunting enough.
SI.com asked current NBA rookies if they could spell Kristaps Porzingis’s name, to hilarious effects. While Karl Anthony-Towns and Sam Dekker were up to par, others simply could not accomplish the feat. Best of all in this montage is Willie Cauley-Stein’s reaction.
According to The New York Post, spelling Porzingis’s name is not a worry for president of operations Phil Jackson; rather, it is his height.
With many reaching in order to convey the Latvian’s bust potential, people are inspired to compare Porzingis to former New Jersey Net Shawn Bradley, a 7 foot 6 center whose most memorable contribution to the NBA was his appearance in Space Jam alongside Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Muggsy Bogues, and former New York Knick Patrick Ewing.
Said Jackson of Porzingis, who looms at 7 foot 3, “Like Shawn Bradley, who was nevertheless a pretty good player, [Porzingis] might almost be too tall for the game. What I mean is that his core strength might never be good enough, and that he might not be able to get low enough to get himself into prime defensive position to body power rebounders or drivers.”
Despite this most recent revelation, Jackson at least on draft night, was quick to favorably compare Porzingis to Pau Gasol, his former Laker center and one-time star Spanish League star with FC Barcelona.
Porzingis, a star at the Summer League in Vegas, more than held his own against picks higher than him, including Sixers center and former Duke star Jahlil Okafor, a player many believe is more polished than Porzingis is at present.
Added Jackson: “What I saw made up my mind,” in reference to taking Porzingis with the fourth pick. “Although the competition in the Spanish League is more physical, more consistent and more advanced than even the best D-I college teams over here, [Porzingis] more than held his own.
“He had a long, lively body, a well-developed basketball IQ, a soft shot with terrific range and he didn’t back down from anybody. Plus, he showed an amazing athleticism for somebody his size.”
The Knicks, in light of acquiring Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn, Derrick Williams, and Kevin Seraphin via free agency, and retaining Carmelo Anthony in the second year of his contract, will not expect Porzingis to bear too much of a load at the front court position, and he should progress nicely playing 20 to 25 minutes a night, leading the second unit off the bench.
Regardless of what Sports Illustrated has shown us regarding the spelling of his name, by mid-season, nobody should have much difficulty spelling K-R-I-S-T-A-P-S P-O-R-Z-I-N-G-I-S as he fills up the stat sheet on a nightly basis for the Knicks.
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