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When the New York Knicks took 20-year-old Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis in this year’s NBA draft, many people viewed him as a long-term project.
With a slender 7-foot-3 frame, Porzingis, who was 19 when he was drafted, would need time to add muscle, gain weight, and figure out his role in the NBA, considering his diverse skill set.
Two games into his career, however, Porzingis looks far more ready than anyone expected. While he is still raw and figuring his way around the court, he is averaging 13 points (only 33% shooting) and six rebounds, and he has two blocks.
Thursday night against the Atlanta Hawks, Porzingis made one play that flashed his otherworldly potential and showed why some people felt he could be the best player in the draft.
- Via YouTube
There are a couple of things to note here:
- Paul Millsap is one of the most mobile, versatile big men in the NBA, and he is about 7 inches shorter than Porzingis. Reading the play and reacting and coming up with the steal is a nice sign for Porzingis’ defensive potential. The spin probably wasn’t intentional, but the impressive part was going the length of the floor, avoiding the steal attempt from Millsap, and keeping his balance to spin, keep his dribble, and finish the play. The man is 7-foot-3!
- Via YouTube
The Hawks controlled most of the game and won 112-101, but the Knicks have to feel good about their No. 4 pick.
While Porzingis will still struggle at times, these flashes of potential (and aggressiveness) make the future exciting for the Knicks.