What If… With the 4th Pick The Knicks Draft: Kristaps Porzingis

With the order of the draft being settled, the writers of KnickerBlogger thought we’d go over the possible outcomes. But since we were whipping out the ol’ Crystal Ball, we decided to go a little past June & see what fate possibly has to offer…

In a stunning out of the box management move sure to show everyone how forward thinking he is, Phil Jackson will have Kristaps Porzingis pull double duty as a member of the Knicks AND the Knicks' ball boy.
In a stunning out of the box management move sure to show everyone how forward thinking he is, Phil Jackson will have Kristaps Porzingis pull double duty as a player for the Knicks as well as the Knicks’ ball boy.

2015 Draft Order
1 MIN Karl-Anthony Towns
2 LAL Jahlil Okafor
3 PHI D’Angelo Russell
4 NYK Kristaps Porzingis

What happened on Draft Day 2015

Steve Mills, who knows as much about NBA tampering rules as he does about how to avoid sexual harassment in the workplace, already has a deal in place with Greg Monroe before the draft (hence him telling everyone that who the Knicks sign will determine who they draft, while that typically goes in the reverse order), thereby giving Phil Jackson the big butt in the middle that he so greatly desired. With his Andrew Bynum in place in the middle, Jackson decided to try to get his Pau Gasol, well, at least a tall European guy to play the 4. Cue thousands of Knicks fans quickly learning how to spell Porzingis’ name before ultimately deciding to just call him by his nickname, the Zinger.

What will be written on draft day in 2018

As we look into the future, I wish to first look into the past. On June 15, 2014, Kristaps Porzingis withdrew from the 2014 NBA Draft. He was predicted to go roughly at #20 (the Oklahoma City Thunder allegedly promised him that they would take him with the #21 pick, likely with the goal in mind of stashing him overseas for a year or two).

Clearly, Porzingis and his agent, Andy Miller, realized that if Porzingis stayed in Europe and gained strength and muscle, he would go much higher in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Here is Porzingis in 2014…


Here he is in 2015 (both images courtesy of DraftExpress’ profiles on him)…


Here they are side-by-side…


He didn’t add any noticeable muscle or size!! And if you don’t want to go by just those photos, please, by all means, compare videos from him in 2014 to videos of him now. He’s added a little bit of muscle, but just a teensy bit.

So think about that, the one thing he stayed in Europe to do, add muscle and strength, and he didn’t do it!! Do you think that’s because he just said, “Eh, who cares? It doesn’t matter” (which, by the way, would be a problem in and of itself) or do you think the guy just isn’t someone who is going to add much size and muscle? I think it looks increasingly likely that it is the latter. When the guy weighs in at the same bogus 220 pounds (no way is this guy 220) two years in a row,, that is not a good sign.

Therefore, I envision a 2018 where Porzingis is routinely pushed around on the low post. He also didn’t attack the rim or pass the ball in Europe, so if that keeps up, he’s essentially a 7 foot 1 spot-up shooter, or in other words, he’s Ryan Anderson with a good first step…that he never uses because he doesn’t attack the basket (only 2.2 free throws per 40 minutes, because he shied away from contact, which makes sense because he’s a twig). However, as a spot-up shooter, I bet he gets the ball enough times to average a decent amount of pointz per game (also, do note that while he shot 46% from three in EuroCup, he also shot 32% during the Spanish League in twice as many games, so are we even positive that the guy is a great shooter?), so he might very well be the first Knick draft pick in two decades to get an extension from the Knicks. Got to lock down that scoring.

And the Knick fans of 2018 will say, “Okay, but what if Porzingis puts on some weight next year? He’s only 22! There’s still time!” as they look to add a good player with their second-round pick after having dealt their 2018 First Rounder for Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline in 2017 (MASAI!!!).

(NOTE: If you want an optimistic projection, just imagine that he does gain a lot of muscle and therefore changes his entire game, becoming someone who will go right at guys and not back down to other players. Then he’ll be a star. Think a bigger version of Gallo, that’s what he’d be and that’d be pretty darn impressive).

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