When Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks selected Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth-pick in the NBA draft, many thought disaster.
By David Hong
With the fourth pick in the 2015 NBA draft, the New York Knicks drafted big-man Kristaps Porzingis.
As evidenced by the reactions among the Knicks faithful at Barclays Center, the pick was not met with much satisfaction. Porzingis was booed by most of the Knicks fans in the Brooklyn Nets home and some analysts were immediately predicting Porzingis as a bust, especially since he’s a foreign player who came from Spain.
The question remains: Is Porzingis really going to bust in the NBA?
Some labeled him as the next Shawn Bradley, who became an NBA bust after getting drafted No. 2 in the 1993 NBA Draft. He was chosen right after Chris Webber and ahead of No. 3 pick Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.
Porzingis himself, has already stated that he is not the next Shawn Bradley. I’ve never watched Porzingis play in Spain but looking at many of his highlights playing basketball, I for one, don’t think Porzingis will be the next Bradley but I think Kristaps will be a fine NBA player and there are many reasons to think along those lines.
First of all, Porzingis is ultra skilled for such a tall body. He’s 7′ plus who will most likely play power forward. But Porzingis is one of the more skilled players at his height, especially the fact that he can shoot. Porzingis is an excellent perimeter shooter who’s terrific from three-point land. He is such a great perimeter shooter that analysts compared him to Dirk Nowitzki. Now that might be unfair to compare the kid to a future Hall of Famer, but Porzingis has a nice touch from anywhere around the arc and with his shooting. He can extend the floor with the best of them.
Second, Porzingis is athletic and runs well for a big man. He’s not just a shooter. He can score from anywhere. He runs well, he has good footwork around the baseline and he can finish with driving layups. Plus he’s a decent ball handler who is adept with the ball.
Third, Porzingis has gained 11-more pounds. One of his biggest concerns was his weight. Porzingis’s listed weight prior to the gain, was 220 pounds, which is really considered thin for a big man and which wouldn’t suit him well against stronger big men. So Porzingis went to work, lifting weights as well as eating more carbs and he has gained 11 pounds. Porzingis’s game is not a problem, but his weight was and in order for him to last long in the NBA, he had to get bigger and stronger. With the added weight, Porzingis should have a less difficult time hanging in there with the bruising power forwards and centers.
Last but not least, Porzingis has a New York-type attitude. He’s already spoken about hot celebs such as Beyonce and has a swagger that New York fans should and will fall in love with. He’s showing more confidence in himself as an NBA player, and as New York sports fan we all know in order to play in New York you’ve gotta be tough minded. Porzingis has already shown more toughness that most imagined and so so far his approach seems like he will be a good fit playing for the Knicks.
Now lets get to the bust that was Shawn Bradley.
I remember back then when he was drafted No. 2 as a 7’6” center. Many thought he would be the next big center in the NBA and In thought he would be right up there with Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Brad Daughtery, Dikembe Mutombo, and the other great centers back in the 90s. Little did I know I was completely wrong. Bradley turned out to be one of the biggest busts ever in the NBA game. He had no real offensive game. He only scored on hook shots and dunks because he was so big. He couldn’t shoot and he wasn’t strong enough to compete with the stronger centers. He was a great shot blocker but that was attested to his large 7’6” frame.
He was incredibly soft too. He wasn’t just overrated, he was a downright bust.
Porzingis on the other hand, just like I mentioned before, has a strong offensive game who can shoot from anywhere and also runs well and can also score from anywhere as well. While his weight may be an issue, he’s already shown us the want-to when it regards bulking up. Bradley never gained more serious pounds but he was pretty much the same and Porzingis has a better and more tougher attitude as previously mentioned.
Which is why, not only do I think Porzingis will not be the next Bradley, but will develop into a fine NBA player and make Phil Jackson look like a genius for drafting him with the 4th pick of the 2015 NBA draft.
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