The most mysterious player in the draft is Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia. For months, he wasn’t in consideration to be a top five draft pick, barely even top ten. But recently some of the top teams have started to think about drafting the big man, especially the Knicks. So who is Kristaps Porzingis and why should the Knicks pick him to help rebuild their franchise?
Player Comparison: Pau Gasol
11.6 Pts, 4.1 Rbd, 1.6 Blks, 59.6% FG, 70.7% Ft
Porzingis has probably the most long term potential in the whole draft. It’s incredibly difficult to find a guy over seven feet with his great shooting and speed. He runs the ball so well, especially in transition. Porzingis has a very strong power dribble to help him get closer to the basket and is great off of the pick and roll. He has a great outside shot and can shoot off of the dribble or take it straight to the rim if need be. Unlike most seven footers, he has great lateral quickness. Defensively, he has a 7’5” wingspan, and in Europe, he was able to guard almost anyone on the court.
The man is a stick. His entire body is very underdeveloped so he is not very effective playing in the post. If you look at him without a shirt on, your first thought is to get him food. He is essentially a guard in a center’s body. Porzingis has trouble finishing at the rim which is alarming for some fans and sometimes has trouble passing once he picks up his dribble. So while is weaknesses are defiantly fixable, it may take a long, long time.
Fit With The Knicks
In regards to the triangle offense, the only real good thing is that Porzingis is very comfortable shooting from the perimeter. But, many scouts aren’t sure of his ability to play in this type of system. He lacks a post game, can’t pass well and is turnover prone. Many keep comparing this big man to Andrea Bargnani which will give any Knick fan a heart attack because we know that Bargnani didn’t work well with Carmelo. Plus, Carmelo has been playing the four more and more and with Porzingis’ lack of a post game, you may want to put Kristaps at power foward. The upside to playing with Carmelo is that Porzingis is great in the transition, something both Carmelo and Coach Fisher want to improve upon. On defense, Porzingis is a strong shot blocker which is great, but not a strong rebounder, a category the Knicks need A LOT of work in (finished 29th last year in rebounding). In order for Porzingis to improve defensively, he needs to build his upper body strength. Porzingis definitely has a lot of potential, as his weaknesses can be fixed. Pau Gasol had the same problems when he came to the NBA and now look at him. However, the Knicks may not want to wait for Porzingis to get better, especially with an aging Carmelo Anthony. There is just too much risk with Porzingis.
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