Scouting Porzingis: Summer League Game 1

Kristaps Porzingis played his first NBA game Saturday for the Knicks’ summer league team. The first thing that jumped out at me about Porzingis is his size. He’s listed as 7-3 in sneakers, and he’s clearly head & shoulders above the other players. He had 2 blocks and I’m not even sure he jumped to get them. His immense stature is almost unworldly, slightly reminiscent of Yao Ming, but not nearly as pronounced. Actually the best comparison is Rik Smits.

The fourth overall pick in 2015 is not as stiff as Smits, but he’s not a fluid as you’d imagine from the scouting reports, especially on the defensive end. On an early play, he blocked a shot, then fell for a head fake and ran into an opponent going for the block. Yes that’s partially from being 19 years old in his first NBA game. But also it’s lack of quickness that contributed to it. On another defensive series, he didn’t do much to defend the pick & roll, going far under the pick and ended giving up a wide open jumpshot.

Given this, I can’t imagine him playing small forward, like ever. And actually I’m not sure power forward is a good fit for him either. His true position is center, undoubtedly. Perhaps while scouting Porzingis, given his skinny frame the common wisdom was the Kevin Durant treatment for his first year (i.e. play him against players twice as small). But the NBA small forwards are wayyyy too quick for him. He seemed to be OK at center, although I’d like to see him against NBA size and caliber players before ultimately deciding on this.

Offensively, his size was his main asset. Zinger caught a number of balls near the rim & ended up with lots of free throw attempts. His outside shot didn’t seem to be fluid, esp. compared to another Knick recent draftee Gallinari. He made a jumper off the backboard from about 10 feet, which I’d like to see him repeat cuz it’d be cool if he Duncan’d his jumpers. One shot was an awkward alley-oop that he guided to the hoop, as opposed to slam. The last was a loose ball that he just put up & went in. Of his misses one jump shot was from about 4 feet from behind the arc, the other from about 15 feet. Both were with defenders near by. Due to fact the he makes everyone else look like an 11 year old, he can get this shot off nearly at will. But if he can’t hit them, these are worthless.

The rookie was able to put the ball on the floor a few times. In one drive, he entered the paint, but his lack of strength forced him to take a fadeaway jumper. He had one nice feed to Grant on a give-and-go from the post on the baseline. Grant got fouled near the rim (so no assist). So perhaps there’s some vision there.

The big red flag in Porzingis’ game could be his rebounding. Hitting the glass seemed to be a major issue, and if he doesn’t show more, especially in a year or two — gulp! More than once I noted the Spurs recovering one of their misses that Porzingis could have made an attempt to grab. I’m not saying he should have ended up with them, but he looked like an observer and not a participant. He ended up with only 3 boards, which was 5th on the team, and the Spurs had 14 offensive rebounds.

There were two other plays of note. The negative one, had Porzingis running into the half court set not paying attention to the ball. Kristaps was uncovered, and Grant fed him the ball. Luckily for the Knicks, he was able to draw a foul on the play. But had he been more aware, he likely would have realized he was open and had an easy bucket.

The positive one was diving for a loose ball in the fourth quarter. That one led to a Spurs easy bucket, but it was nice to see the youngster give up his body.

So there’s lots of stuff to watch for, and I’m pretty excited to see what he does in game 2 (and 3 and …).

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

258 thoughts to “Scouting Porzingis: Summer League Game 1”

  1. I’d like to see if Porzingis is stymied by rough play in the paint. I’d like to see if he can start getting assists, which would show that he understands the game.

  2. Nice job, Mike.

    I’m not sure I agree with your assessment of his “true” position, which brings up the larger issue of position definition in the NBA of 2015-16, but I digress.

    I agree that he is definitely not a 3 (in any NBA era, for that matter.) But I’m wondering why anyone who scouted him prior to the draft (or since) would even have entertained the notion of him being a 3. Almost everything I have read or heard had him pegged as either a stretch-4 or a 5. That said, in the complex P&R-based offenses of today, particularly the small-ball GSW brand, being able to hedge and close out on 3’s is an important aspect of effective defense. I actually thought Porzingis moved well enough both in and out and laterally to take advantage of his height if he gets iso’d on a 3 or a guard, certainly as well as other 4’s and 5’s not named Chandler or Cauley-Stein. I made the Smits comparison pre-draft, and that would be an OK floor I guess, although we should hope for much more!

    He clearly needs a lot of improvement in making reads and quick decisions and reactions (observer vs. participant.) Not sure how that will play out, but between his freakish length, his apparent intelligence and work ethic, and experience, maybe he becomes better at this (although just like hand-eye coordination, it’s not something that is necessarily correctable as much as improvable.) Despite his well-known work ethic, this always been Amar’e’s Achilles heel. Although his explosiveness allowed him to be a decent weak-side shot-blocker, Amar’e was nearly useless when caught flat-footed. Maybe Zinger’s length allows him to be somewhat effective even when he gets beat to a spot.

  3. Derek Fisher on Porzingis’ D:

    Fisher pointed out the small things he did in defense — which had been a concern.
    “I think defensively he has the potential to be really special on the defensive end,’’ Fisher said. “Things he recognized and made adjustments on to support teammates and switching on smaller players, using his length to protect the basket.’

    Translation: “Porzingis is incredibly raw but long as hell. He’s already a better defender than Bargnani…good riddance…but that’s like saying he smells better than raw sewage.”

  4. One other thing to note is he definitely runs the floor hard. He beat the other bigs down the floor consistently. Actually, him, Grant, and Cle all ran the floor unusually hard — whether bringing the ball up off of a SAS miss, or from out of play.

    Maybe Fisher emphasized it, which would make sense considering that if you have young guys running the triangle it may take a while to get to the shot (i.e. last 7 seconds of the shot clock) so might as well get the ball to the 30 ft mark quickly.

    Another thing to note is that on one play where someone on the spurs committed a looseball foul while there was a scrum for a rebound off a knicks miss, Zinger actually went up for the putback dunk over someone but was fouled. Hopefully we can see some more of that.

  5. It looks like OKC is making perry jones and steve novak available. I wouldn’t mind taking a run at perry jones, i know he shot bad last year but i liked his defense

  6. I really like this kid, on a lot of levels. As someone pointed out in an earlier thread, it looks like he’s going to treat Summer League not as a chance to post gaudy numbers and jack up a ton of shots, but to work on banging inside and experiencing life on the blocks at the NBA level. Yes, his rebounding left something to be desired, but I think that he can definitely adjust and improve in that area.

    And finally, it’s not a huge thing, but did you notice how he hustled over and helped up every teammate that hit the deck? He looks like he’s going to be a great teammate as well.

  7. if porzingis was rik smits we would be pretty lucky… right now he’s not anywhere near that…

  8. I’d like to see if Porzingis is stymied by rough play in the paint.

    I looked to see if Tractor Traylor was playing the summer league this year. I found out he is dead. So Porzingis should be okay venturing into the paint this week.

  9. Kris Porzingis is a five defensively with his length and a 4 offensively, but his rebound rate is guard-esque and that’s the most important thing for him to fix. I think he will get to the foul line a lot which should keep his TS in the 60s for a lot of his career, and I don’t think it’s possible for him to be a liability defensively because of his length/effort/athleticism. He shows early signs of being a great two way player while being bad at rebounding. If he could average 8 boards per 36 in the NBA, he could eventually be a legitimate franchise altering talent like Durant, Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, and LeBron James. I think his potential is that high; the best player on a team that could win a championship. We just need him to be at least an average rebounder.

  10. Yikes. I didn’t know that Traylor was dead. Sudden heart attack, apparently.

    I watched some of Mudiay yesterday. He looked pretty good; you can see the playmaking ability. Tonight we get to see Grant vs. Russell!

  11. I liked the way Zing set screens. It takes a while to get around someone with that tall a frame. His base is very wide. On top of that, if he can hit threes, you have to guard him out there. He’s so tall, he’s pretty much always open just standing there.

  12. “if porzingis was rik smits we would be pretty lucky… right now he’s not anywhere near that…”

    I’d hardly call it “lucky.” Smits was a pretty good C on a very good Pacers team, but I think that most here would be disappointed if that’s where Zinger topped out. Obviously far better than a worst-case scenario, but pretty far from the best-case as well.

  13. Eh..as soon as he gets stronger he’ll get more boards. I think the coaches are gonna drill him on his awareness and rebounding effort, and he’ll get better at it in short order. At least I hope. He does box out well from what I saw so that’s a plus. Don’t forget, as skilled and as big as Yao was, he wasn’t really a great rebounder or shot blocker. Porzingis is only 19, and at his size, he moves much much better than anyone we’ve seen at his size- except Wilt, Kareem, Dream, avid Robinson, and Russell.

  14. well i think if ppl are thinking significantly better than rik smits then you will probably be disappointed… i certainly hope he will be better…

    right now his worst case scenario is bargs until he fixes his shot selection and teh rebounding…. if he improves.. he might be something like a cross between smits and chris bosh…

  15. If he’s anywhere near Chris Bosh, I’d be ecstatic. I think he’s already better than Bosh defensively in his early years.

  16. I’d hardly call it “lucky.” Smits was a pretty good C on a very good Pacers team, but I think that most here would be disappointed if that’s where Zinger topped out. Obviously far better than a worst-case scenario, but pretty far from the best-case as well.

    If you expect more, I think you’ll be very disappointed. By definition, most draft picks don’t turn out to be great players, even lottery picks. It’s like playing Deal or No Deal. Eventually you have to figure out that you don’t have the million dollar case, and pray you end up with more than $50k.

    If you had to bet over/under for these things for Porzingis’ career, which would you take:

    20.1 pts/36
    54.1% ts%
    12 seasons
    1 All Star
    PER 17.9
    WS .118

    Those are Smits’ career stats.

  17. He seems to have a good work ethic so hopefully he’ll maximize his talent. If he does that I’ll be excited to see what he turns out as. We won’t know for a few years though. It is fun to try to guess off of one summer league game though!

  18. bosh and dirk are great examples of guys who were passable on defense but had wildly efficient offensive games… porzingis has some rim protecting ability just based off of his height but he has to be a passable rebounder either this year or next… and the magic number is about 8 per 36..

    bargs, frye, cliff robinson, al harrington, antoine walker are examples of guys who didn’t quite have the inside scoring and rebounding ability and so they’re efficiency and contributions vacillated wildly year to year depending on how their shot was falling…

    if he becomes passable like bosh and dirk.. we have every reason to be optimistic… if he doesn’t… it’s going to be another long few years…

  19. Expecting any 19-year old to come in as a complete package is lunacy. I loved what I saw and am looking forward to watching him develop in front of us. As I said earlier, he needs to work on his rebounding and I think he needs strong coaching. Phil should call on the Worm!

    We’re over-analyzing his first game. Me included. Rational me is more interested in how he performs on the road in the middle of December. At this point I can say that I like his enthusiasm, hustle, length, strength, shot, handle and savvy. That’s a lot to like. If we’re lucky, we’ve drafted a perennial All-star. That’s what we wanted out of the pick, right?

    Note that I was also impressed by Grant. He had his jitters and made a couple of stupid passes but looking past that, he is already starting to develop chemistry with Prozingis. What if we drafted 2 all-stars? Is that even possible for the Knicks? I can’t wait for 2017!

  20. I’m not sure Porzingis will ever be a great (or even good) defensive rebounder but just his length alone should allow him to be a pretty good offensive rebounder- he’ll keep a lot of ball alive if nothing else. On the last play where Ledo got fouled Zinger had inside position and would have certainly drawn an over-the-back foul if Ledo hadn’t been fouled himself. I’ll be interested to see if the Knicks try to run him off of screens a bit more for open looks- no center is used to covering that so he should be able to get wide open looks very easily when covered by fives. While he certainly wasn’t dominating, that performance did raise his floor for me- I thought he could be a total bust a la Yi Jianlian but given his size, decent athleticism and soft touch as long as he stays healthy he should be at least a solid rotation guy well past his rookie contract.

  21. Agree 100% with Mike’s assessment on him. I thought he fought for position well in the post and that the knicks guards did not do a good job getting him the ball. The rebounding and to some extent the help defense was concerning — ie. he was near but not involved on a bunch of plays — some plays around the basket where he could have come over and altered the shot, but instead stood around boxing out no one. And he definitely is not one of those guys that wants the rebound more than everyone else.

    Best part was that he definitely did not look out of place. He looked like one of the best players on the floor – a game changer with his size. And I was impressed with his attempts at passing.

  22. Him on the floor with RoLo and Melo should make things a heck of alot easier for him. So this stretch of summer league ball could be his hardest of the season for him until he hits that rookie wall. Also a true PG like Calderon

  23. “until he fixes his shot selection”
    You’ve concluded after 18 minutes of action in his first summer league game, playing with guys he met for the first time about 72 hours before game time, that he needs to “fix” his shot selection? Don’t you think that you are jumping to conclusions a little quickly? Much the same as anyone who has concluded that he’s going to be great based on the fact that, in his first game, he scored 24 points/36 on a TS% over 70 and blocked 4 shots/36 is also jumping to conclusions a little too quickly.

  24. Dang the Nuggets just got Jameer Nelson, so i guess they are definitely trading Lawson.

    I have no idea where he gets traded. Kings got Rondo, Dallas has Deron.

    Milwaukee is a possibility even if he doesn’t fit the tall and long MO of coach Kidd.

    Houston? Has to be Houston right?

  25. @18 Yes, I will likely be disappointed. But now is the time to entertain our wildest fantasies. We have absolutely no idea how he will develop or what he will ultimately become.

    I mean, how many “sure things” have we seen in recent memory? LeBron? Duncan? Shaq? Anthony Davis? Maybe Howard? Maybe Durant? Maybe Rose? Maybe Oden? (injuries could have derailed LeBron and Duncan too.) Maybe Leonard? (hi jowles!)

    Yes, there were also players drafted a bit lower that were highly likely to be no worse than very good: Wade, Paul, Melo, Aldridge, Cousins, Camby, etc. But many great players had huge concerns on draft night, even lingering into their rookie seasons:

    http://bkref.com/tiny/02ZWc

    I was disappointed terribly when we didn’t wind up with the #1 pick, even though the odds were well against us. The odds were way against Dirk being an all-time great, even after his rookie season.

    But there is at least preliminary reason to hope that Porzingis is more Dirk/Gasol/Garnett than Bargnani/Yi/Bradley. Perhaps the best hope is that he seems different. I don’t know how else to say it except to say that he has that “it” factor.

  26. While I think the 5 is the best case long-term for Zinger, I’m not sure I would rule out the 3 and more so the 4 as short-term possibilities so quickly. What he lacks in foot-speed he may be able to make up for in length (he often was able to in Spain… the athleticism isn’t NBA-level overall, but there is some cross-over where the better athletes there can be more athletic than lesser NBA athletes). The 3 might be more of a situational thing for short stretches and/or against certain assignments (and might be sort of a bad case scenario where he’s getting abused inside but they just want to get him on the court / use his shooting), but I think he can stay with a lot of 4s. Some of his issues at the 4–getting out-levered/muscled, his general rawness/awkwardness, rebounding–may be even bigger issues at the 5.

    Generally… I think he’ll be a bit incomplete at any position as a rookie, so if he’s going to get minutes I think there are a couple of ways that the Knicks can try to take advantage of his strengths and get by with his weaknesses. (Namely, that might be sticking him on a weak offensive 3/4 rather than asking him to be the keystone of your defense at the 5.)

    I also think we have to remember that he’s adjusting to a different style of play, so he may not be as slow as he looks but rather just adjusting. His awkwardness made him look slow in Spain, but he actually covered ground pretty well defensively.

    His rebounding isn’t particularly strong and he definitely had major technical issues in Spain. He still got a respectable number of rebounds in ACB competition, though. Will that transfer to the NBA-level? Given his length I don’ t think he’ll be totally embarrassing if he’s playing inside.

    I think it’s questionable exactly how good a shooter Zinger is, but I do think he’s at least got an outside shot. Wouldn’t base too much on how his form looked over a few shot sample.

  27. When you compare him to Smits, bear in mind that Smits was a tall, but otherwise not very impressive center at Marist college when he was nineteen.

  28. smits is what you would call a late bloomer.. he picked up basketball in hs so his development curve shifted a little later… same thing with ibaka… it’s usually something like that or a really late growth spurt that triggers later development…

    porzingis doesn’t really fit the outlier mold… he has enough.. if not more experience.. as any top prospect his age…

  29. I agree that he is definitely not a 3 (in any NBA era, for that matter.) But I’m wondering why anyone who scouted him prior to the draft (or since) would even have entertained the notion of him being a 3.

    I think for the most part it would be a short-term get him on the court / long-term he’s doesn’t get stronger but the shot and athleticism are there thing. Maybe early in his career he’s not strong enough to play inside and not coordinated/smart enough to keystone your defense, but he has some value for his shooting/length or you want to get him some exposure even if he stinks and the 3 is the least bad spot. Longer-term maybe he never gets strong/tough enough to play inside, but he does have an NBA shot and the athleticism to be a good F defender in something resembling the AK-47 or Bender mold. (Some of these profiles were probably also done a year or two ago when his game and body were less refined and there was generally less tape on him.)

    Probably not a pure 5 short-term with RoLo.

    but his rebound rate is guard-esque and that’s the most important thing for him to fix.

    I don’t think that’s true. He grabbed 9 TRB/40 in ACB and 8 in Eurocup last year. He’s not Dennis Rodman, but he’s not a G.

    re: Smits comparisons…

    Chances are probably against him being as good on his career and once he matures maybe he’s going to lose mobility and look like Smits, but short-term I think he’s a pretty different kind of player. Maybe a Smits for the 2015 NBA game…

    djphan, I’m not sure that there’s a ton of value is cherry-picking historical players as possible outcomes. You’re throwing out very different players with very different careers that are only a few of the development paths Zinger might take. I’m also not sure you’re throwing out a single 5. And, why do you keep harping on the rebounding? He got 9/40 in ACB last season.

  30. Yeah, if you his raw rebounding numbers in Spain they are very underwhelming, but there aren’t as many available rebounds in the ACB as the NBA. On a rate basis, he was 18th or so out of 40 odd PFs. Considering he was one of the younger players in the league that’s not bad, and indicates that he has at least a decent shot to be non-Bargs bad in the NBA.

    To put in a different way, Luke Harangody, late of ND, averaged 1 rebound per 40 more than the Zinger. Luke is 27, and over 800 odd NBA minutes when he was younger was a slightly below average rebounder.

  31. Pelton’s translation (I don’t have the details of how he calculated) said that his rebounding in the ACB was essentially equivalent to Okafor’s at Duke, i.e. underwhelming but not prohibitively so. FWIW.

  32. I think that Porzingas’ lack of strength was very noticeable in his inability to catch the ball in traffic. This was true not only on rebounds, but also on contested passes and loose balls. This was Knicks-era Mozgov level butterfingers when in contact with an opponent.

    Right now, he strikes me as having a frame like Kevin Durant, Jared Jeffries and Brad Sellers did when they entered the league. That is a wide range of outcomes. It is far too early to tell what Porzingas will turn out to be.

  33. 9 in the acb isn’t the same as 9 in the nba.. his teammate and also our draftee guillermo had 11 per 36…

    and ted.. i threw out a bunch of pf’s who played more like 3s… which matches up pretty well with what you and a lot of others are hoping for out of kristaps:

    Maybe early in his career he’s not strong enough to play inside and not coordinated/smart enough to keystone your defense, but he has some value for his shooting/length or you want to get him some exposure even if he stinks and the 3 is the least bad spot. Longer-term maybe he never gets strong/tough enough to play inside,

    that right there is bad… and i’ve listed all of the rough benchmarks and the reasoning before ad nauseum…

  34. DJ, I get what you’re saying, but I think you’re overstating your case a bit. The kid’s 19, and his rebounding has been shown (if you put stock in Pelton) to be below average, but not that bad. He has to put on strength, and he knows that, and I get that it’s not a given that it’ll happen, but, again, the kid is 19. He’s got a lot of development and to be shouting jeremiads about his size and rebounding when he’s not near a finished product is a bit premature, I think.

    Let’s at least enjoy the fact that Porzingis is not a known quantity yet and so has the potential to be very, very good, however unlikely. There’s so few things that are fun about being a Knicks fan, but seeing Zinger develop ought to be one of them.

  35. Kristaps is going to have to score (a lot) more efficiently in the NBA than he did in the ACB if he’s going to be the all-star type player we’re all hoping him to be. That worries me more than his rebounding. He should be able to be an acceptable but below average rebounder, and he should block shots.

  36. Adding weight has to be the most overcome development obstacle in league history…by a landslide.

    His length and shooting mechanics alone give him a high floor. He attacks the rim and contact–which is what has held back other highly touted Euros w/out Porzingis length and athleticism.

    He’s not as skilled or as quick as Durant, and never will be, but he’s more athletic than many stretch 4s and will immediately be one of the longest players in the league.

    He has a base of skills/attributes that will allow him to be a good player immediately, and if he merely develops as a 19-yo with an average work ethic, he’ll be a borderline all-star.

    If he has a killer work ethic and stays, he’ll have a chance to be transcendent, a Dirk/Durant combo on offense with the ability to guard perimeter situations and be an elite shot blocker.

    Maybe not quite Anthony Davis, but pretty close.

  37. djphan,

    I’d rather not have a conversation where you explain to me how your list of a handful of comparisons is exhaustive. A list of a few players is necessarily not exhaustive, and part of my point is that even if you have an exhaustive list I’m not sure comparables analysis is of much value.

    You’ve created an arbitrary sample of players that is far too small to be representative. Then you’ve decided that rebounding is the deciding factor dividing that small group between more and less successful players. By your own admission, though, the primary division is that a couple of the players were consistently elite offensive players and the other group were mediocre offensive players. (I mean, Al Harrington’s career TRB% is a hair under Dirk’s while Cliff Robinson’s is 2/3 of Dirk’s. Rebounding is not what divides Harrington and Dirk.) Overall, it’s something like me listing a range of combo-guards and saying the only difference between them and Steve Nash or Chris Paul is that the latter could pass. That’s likely one of many differences and the degree of variation across each will vary from player to player.

    A small sample of Fs also arbitrarily limits the range of outcomes for Zinger. There are many possible outcomes not only at the 4, but also at the 5.

    Once you get a large enough sample of comps to have a meaningful discussion, it’s not so much of a comparables discussion anymore as what we’d probably describe as a stats discussion. Comparables are a convenient way to get an idea for what a player can do, but I’m not sure there’s much value beyond that and I think there’s actually a lot of danger in how comparables might limit our thinking.

  38. i’ve usually tried to qualify my statements… and really i’m not saying that it’s hopeless for porzingis.. it’s quite possible that he’ll be respectable playing minutes with lopez as aldridge who was sort of like chris bosh with his mediocre reb rates.. he can be pretty good if he just sticks his nose in there and gets everything in his area…

    i’m just pointing out the things to look for right now and in his rookie year… there’s a big danger in applauding big men who base most of their value outside the paint… a big man still needs to play like a big man no matter how good of a shooter he is.. and those skills become evident as soon as their rookie year…

  39. Seems like he a good chance of having a high ft rate and being a good 3-pt shooter.

    He scores off spot-ups, screens, pick and roll, offensive rebounds and by running the floor; the most efficient kinds of plays in basketball.

    He has all the markings of an efficient offensive player in his rookie year.

  40. Also, it should be noted that Durants frame is one of his best attributes. He shows contact like few can.

    While Porzingis weight will hinder him inside defensively, it will work to great benefit on offense.

  41. Has anyone been keeping up with “The Phil Files”series on ESPN.com? Pretty interesting stuff. I just read the latest and it basically said he was targetin Lopez, Jordan and Monroe for a while but he didn’t think he would land Jordan. It also included his criticisms of a few players and him being candid about Melo’s knee back in December. Yal should check it out if u haven’t already.

  42. He’s got a lot of development and to be shouting jeremiads about his size and rebounding when he’s not near a finished product is a bit premature, I think.

    Where he is developmentally is probably worth considering, but I think it’s also that focusing only on rebounding isn’t that valuable regardless of where he’s at in his development. I don’t think rebounding is the main driver separating Dirk and Bosh from a miscellaneous group that includes Bargs, Toine, Harrington, Frye, and Robinson.

    Kristaps is going to have to score (a lot) more efficiently in the NBA than he did in the ACB if he’s going to be the all-star type player we’re all hoping him to be

    I’d certainly like him to be as efficient as possible, but when you include his Eurocup stats you’re increasing the sample by ~50% and his numbers look a lot better.

  43. Why are we talking about Rik Smits like it’d be a good thing? Are our expectations that low? It’s like we’re all assuming he’s the next Bargnani and if he, a #4 pick, ends up being an average rotation player, it’s a win. That would not be a win.

    Smits was never good. He was an average scorer (1.23 PPS compared to 1.28, league average for a center), a below average rebounder, was pretty good at blocking but bad at stealing, and a foul-machine.

    Let’s not conflate the success of the Pacers with Smits’ individual success. Schrempf and Miller were the key pieces to that team.

  44. djphan,

    I guess there is no having a conversation with you.

    Basketball (and even being a bigman) is about more than rebounding. Your own arbitrary examples show this.

    You seem to have completely ignored the points I made. Showing me a link B-R in no way addresses what I said about comparables analysis.

  45. If you had to bet over/under for these things for Porzingis’ career, which would you take:

    20.1 pts/36
    54.1% ts%
    12 seasons
    1 All Star
    PER 17.9
    WS .118

    I’d bet the under, not because I don’t think Porzingis has it in him to exceed all those numbers, but because 7’3″ players tend to encounter injuries that almost always slow down their careers. Smits managed those numbers despite having a litany of congenital injuries inclusing nerve damage from growing too fast. He had 4 foot surgeries, back surgery, knee surgery, and ankle surgery.

    More important than career numbers for tall guys is peak performance. Smits had a 3 year run where he averaged 21.5 pts/36; 8.5 reb/36; 1.3 blk/36; TS% .575; 27% usage; .150 ws/48. I think if Ponzingis is able to match or exceed those numbers during a three year span in New York, Knick fans will be very happy with him. (Especially if he’s surrounded by good rebounders like Dale and Antonio Davis, versatile defenders like Derrick McKey, and all-world shooters like Reggie Miller and Byron Scott:)

    I’m not sure that there’s a ton of value is cherry-picking historical players as possible outcomes.

    I think there is some value, as very tall players do have some things in common (mainly health complications brought on by their rapid growth). So looking at guys like Smits, Bradley, Sampson, etc has value in gauging potential as well as short-comings. But Nowitski really is an outlier among big men in many categories, most importantly his durability. Obviously, he’s a best case scenario for Ponzinis (or anyone, for that matter).

    Question: can anybody access Arvydas Sabonis’s european stats? He was 7’3″ and only played in the NBA in his 30s, but was one of the most dynamic and unique big-men I’ve ever seen. He could rebound, block shots, shoot 3 pointers, and was an amazing passer as well.

  46. Adding weight has to be the most overcome development obstacle in league history…by a landslide.

    This is absolutely true. Players do it all the time. Some players don’t, though. So it remains a concern until it happens. But just that – a concern. Nothing to worry too much about, but definitely something to factor in when you’re drafting someone. But all the other guys the Knicks could have drafted at #4 had similar concerns, so I think taking on this concern is fair enough. Dude’s going to play next season at age 20. That’s still pretty young.

  47. I don’t think he’s comparable to Durant or Jeffries, other than being skinny. He’s 4 inches taller than Durant (who will be considered an all-time great if he can play a few more years at his pre-injury level) and 5 inches or more taller than Jeffries (who never had any offensive potential). He also has a longer wingspan, probably meaning that his standing reach is a good 6″ higher.

    I don’t even know why we’re bringing up Brad Sellers.

    The list of NBA player seasons for players who were a legit 7’2″ and played 2000+ minutes is a very short one:

    http://bkref.com/tiny/s69tQ

    Not a single one of them averaged more than 1.4 3PA/36 (Sabonis).

    Porzingis is not just tall, he’s freakishly tall. If he can stay healthy and stay on the floor, he’s going to be a monster.

  48. Zinger has a lot going for him as a prospect. The most encouraging thing about him to me is that his jump shot is not something that needs to be rebuilt– he has a very fluid, repeatable motion, get his shot off quickly and has a nice high release point. His technique seems solid, so now it’s just a matter of reps. Combine that with his ability to get to the line and hit his free throws and that’s a good starting point as an offensive player. Mix in some post moves and now you’ve got quite a versatile offensive weapon.

    His movements are still a little gawky and herky-jerky, and he seems a split second slow to react on defense and on rebounds but he is also a high “intangibles” guy, seemingly motivated to learn and develop as a player.

  49. Let’s not conflate the success of the Pacers with Smits’ individual success. Schrempf and Miller were the key pieces to that team.

    As a researcher, you should know that Schrempf was not a part of the Pacer’s success. He played 5 seasons with Smits and the Pacers never finished above .500 once :)

  50. If you look at that list, only 10 guys 7’2″ or over have played multiple seasons with 2000+ minutes in the shot clock era. So I agree with Z in that staying healthy is the key for him, the odds are against it. On the other hand, I disagree with Z (and agree with Jowles) that setting the bar of success at Smits is just too low. Smits was a nice complementary player when surrounded by the right guys, but I would compare him to a David Lee-level player. Is that what you’re gonna be happy with at #4 in this draft? Not me, I’d be very disappointed (as opposed to devastated if he gets hurt or devolves into a scrub.)

  51. I think there is some value, as very tall players do have some things in common (mainly health complications brought on by their rapid growth). So looking at guys like Smits, Bradley, Sampson, etc has value in gauging potential as well as short-comings. But Nowitski really is an outlier among big men in many categories, most importantly his durability. Obviously, he’s a best case scenario for Ponzinis (or anyone, for that matter).

    I guess it’s fair to say that there’s some value outside what I mentioned. In determining the likelihood of certain outcomes, and especially extreme outcomes where there are few historical examples. That’s the point, though, where I’m not sure if most of us would consider it a comparables analysis in the way djphan is using comparables to show possible career outcomes. If no one has or a few players have ever done something, it looks like a comparables analysis, but with more middle-of-the road things it’s probably going to look more like a statistical analysis where we’re saying there’s an X% chance of this based on historicals.

    There may be something to it, but I sort of feel like your examples are cherry picking. You’re sort of comparing him to one side of the distribution and not the other. Is Zinger really more comparable to a 7’6″ guy like Shawn Bradley, for example, than a lot of 7’0″, 7’1″, 7’2″ guys who have enjoyed long NBA careers? Guys like Tyson Chandler or Roy Hibbert. Height is a risk, but comparing him only to a few guys who were taller than him probably overstates the risk a bit. I don’t think Dirk is really an outlier in terms of durability, for example. Towards the high end of the range, probably.

  52. adding weight has to be the most overcome development obstacle in league history…by a landslide.

    Which makes Eddy Curry the American Ninja Warrior of NBA development obstacles.

    The only thing I know about Zinger is that it all comes down to how many rebounds he gets tonight, and that I will be counting them. Also, both Gasols averaged around 9 reb/40 in the ACB when they were 19.

  53. Z-Man,
    We might want to add Wilt to that list of players ;)

    The player I would compare him to the most, body-wise, is probably Kareem. But Kareem didn’t shoot 3’s and he didn’t work real hard on defense and lot’s of times he didn’t run the court. And he didn’t really try unless it was the playoffs.

    Kareem Abdul Jabbar – Airplane

  54. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.

    Shawn Bradley seems to be missing from that list of super tall guys who played 2,000+ minutes in a season, which he did four times. Bradley generally wasn’t good enough to get on the floor for a huge amount of minutes, but he did stay relatively healthy throughout his career. He played in 70+ games seven times and had a few other seasons in the 60s.

  55. If you look at that list, only 10 guys 7’2? or over have played multiple seasons with 2000+ minutes in the shot clock era. So I agree with Z in that staying healthy is the key for him, the odds are against it.

    How much of that is because the injury rate is higher and how much of that is because the supply of good basketball players over 7’2″ is really low, though? And why are we capping the number at 7’2″ when, for example, 7’1″ is closer to 7’3″ than 7’6″ is? (I am not trying to argue that there is no trend of really tall people being injury prone, I’m just trying to get at the actual probability of debilitating injury instead of looking at it anecdotally.)

    On the other hand, I disagree with Z (and agree with Jowles) that setting the bar of success at Smits is just too low. Smits was a nice complementary player when surrounded by the right guys, but I would compare him to a David Lee-level player. Is that what you’re gonna be happy with at #4 in this draft? Not me, I’d be very disappointed (as opposed to devastated if he gets hurt or devolves into a scrub.)

    I’m not sure it’s fair to compare Smits to Lee. Smits was a legit 5 in an era when bigmen (and all players) were allowed to be more physical. The scoring volume is quite different (I imagine especially pace adjusted/ usage rate) and while this is stretching my memory I’d say the defense as well.

    I think the point is more to question our expectations, though. Objectively, if Zinger turns into Smits (productivity wise) it’s a well above average outcome for the #4 pick. If he turns into an above average NBA player, in fact, it’s basically an above average outcome. Getting an above average NBA player might not get our hearts racing, but it’s probably a solid pick.
    As a fan you can dream of greatness, but if we want to actually project what we should expect from a random guy picked ~4 in the draft… it’s less than Smits

  56. 1. I don’t think Zinger is ever going to be a great offensive rebounder because he’s probably going to spend a lot of time on the perimeter on offense. That may cost him 1 rebound per game +/-.

    2. There are examples of players learning how to rebound a little better on the defensive end. Mozgov is a little better now than when he first came into the league. He was 24 when he came here. However, Zinger may also spend a lot of time on the perimeter defending stretch PFs.

    3. Given #1 and #2, if he can get to 8-9 rebounds per 36 eventually, that would be great.

    4. Rik Smits didn’t have 3 point range like Porzingis.

    5. I saw a lot of Rik Smits and I don’t remember him being this athletic.

    Barring injury or a totally unexpected lack of development I think Rik Smits is below my expectations scenario for a few years from now.

  57. Shawn Bradley seems to be missing from that list of super tall guys who played 2,000+ minutes in a season, which he did four times. Bradley generally wasn’t good enough to get on the floor for a huge amount of minutes, but he did stay relatively healthy throughout his career. He played in 70+ games seven times and had a few other seasons in the 60s.

    Bradley came off the bench for one of the greatest stat lines in history:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/199804070DAL.html

    He had the physical potential to be a true impact player, but never put it together for more than a game or two. He was slow, and got banged up a lot, but more from impact than from congenital issues.

    It seemed that Bradley lacked the obligatory “motor”, which KP seems not to. Which is why I think it is not for nothing that he may not be a good rebounder. The only person that comes to mind that had all the physical attributes of a good rebounder and under-achieved, only to suddenly realize that he was a good rebounder was Marcus Camby. It was like Camby learned “motor”, which is assumed to be inherent in players. Part of it was conditioning, which I think Van Gundy fixed. Does Porzingis have conditioning issues? (I thought I read that he ended his tryout with the Knicks early because he got cramps.)

  58. and the reason why zinger is more comparable to someone like bradley than a 7ft 1 guy in terms of pure height is because the distribution is a fat tail… he’s on the far end of the curve… it’s why you would call shaq more comparable to shawn bradley than all the 6ft 6 guys in the nba…

  59. Gaining weight can be an issue for some teenagers and guys in their 20s, but it is not an issue if you have a professional trainer and nutritionist working with you. Anthony Randolph was a smaller version of Porzingis. He was slowly putting on weight without losing any athleticism before he went to Russian to play.

  60. A general comment. At this point in the season (is it even a point in the season?) everything we post here is just opinions and guesses. I am interested in opinions and you really don’t need to go into any deep analysis or provide references for your conclusions because it’s an opinion. Opinions are like a-holes, everyone’s got one and I’m interested in yours no matter how flimsy your the support is.

    By the way, I’m hoping that tomorrow’s analysis is a comparison of Russell and Grant after tonight’s game. This one feels more important to me. I loved Russell out of college but I also attached a mental red-mark against him because of how cocky he is. While Russell has talent oozing out of every pour, Grant’s profile (as per his college coach, Mike Brey) is that of a basketball genius/savant. I just want to see if his physical skills measure up.

    And violating the exact thing I said I don’t need, here’s the quote and the reference:

    “He has the highest basketball IQ of anybody in this draft, so picking up the triangle will be no problem,” Brey told SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog at the NBA Draft at Barclays Center. “He’ll be showing people the triangle by the second day.”

    Notre Dame head coach, Mike Brey, on Jerian Grant’s basketball IQ

  61. djphan, I’ve seen nothing but violent, defensive arguments from you so I can’t really see how you enjoy discussing anything.

    i very much like to engage in intelligent discussion but you can’t just accuse ppl of cherry picking without doing any legwork yourself…

    You didn’t mention these thresholds once in our discussion today. You mentioned 7 or 8 arbitrarily selected players, and segmented them by nothing besides rebounding.

    I think your arbitrary cut-offs are of little value in the first place (the distribution in your link is from 6.2 to -0.6 for their rookie WS/48s alone), but they’re also not what we were talking about.

    and the reason why zinger is more comparable to someone like bradley than a 7ft 1 guy in terms of pure height is because the distribution is a fat tail… he’s on the far end of the curve… it’s why you would call shaq more comparable to shawn bradley than all the 6ft 6 guys in the nba…

    I don’t think NBA player height has fat tails (which implies a lower mean and higher tails if you’re looking at a graph of a distribution). I think the tails are quite narrow, which is exactly why I’m not sure the sample is large enough in the first place let alone one you arbitrarily set an end-point and only look at the data points to one side of it.

    But anyway… Shaq was listed at 7’1″, 7’2″. That makes him 7 or 8 inches taller than a 6’6″ player. If Zinger is actually 7’3″, he’s two inches taller than a 7’1″ player. So… I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

    Larger point is that you can’t just arbitrarily insert end-points into a sample because you feel like it. You at least have to look at the whole sample to decide where an end-point might exist. (Not sure why fat tails would justify arbitrary end-points, anyway.)

  62. 1. Porzingas measured 7’1″ and 220 lbs at the draft combine. Everything else (like 7’3″ in sneakers) should be taken with a grain of salt.

    2. Why did I bring up Brad Sellers. 7’0″ and 210 lbs at the draft combine. It is the same body type.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/s/sellebr01.html

    3. I agree that Kareem had a similar body type. With his yoga and weighted jump rope, Kareem added strength without adding bulk. It worked for him for 20+ years.

    4. I am only discussing body types, not skill sets.

    5. Shawn Bradley was even taller and even thinner. So were Manute Bol and Chuck Nevitt. Those three really were only good matches for each other (as far as body type).

  63. As a fan you can dream of greatness, but if we want to actually project what we should expect from a random guy picked ~4 in the draft… it’s less than Smits

    2015 Kristaps Porzingis, Baloncesta Sevilla – New York Knicks
    2014 Aaron Gordon, Arizona – Orlando Magic TBD
    2013 Cody Zeller, Indiana – Charlotte Bobcats TBD
    2012 Dion Waiters, Syracuse – Cleveland Cavaliers SHITE
    2011 Tristan Thompson, Texas – Cleveland Cavaliers great pick
    2010 Wesley Johnson, Syracuse – Minnesota Timberwolves good pick

    2000’s

    2009 Tyreke Evans, Memphis – Sacramento Kings nah
    2008 Russell Westbrook, UCLA – Seattle Supersonics great pick
    2007 Mike Conley Jr, Ohio State – Memphis Grizzlies great pick
    2006 Tyrus Thomas, Louisiana State – Portland Trail Blazers SHITE
    2005 Chris Paul, Wake Forest – New Orleans Hornets GOAT contender
    2004 Shaun Livingston, Peoria HS (IL) – L.A. Clippers good pick
    2003 Chris Bosh, Georgia Tech – Toronto Raptors good pick
    2002 Drew Gooden, Kansas – Memphis Grizzlies eh
    2001 Eddy Curry, Thornwood HS (IL) – Chicago Bulls SHITE SHITE SHITE
    2000 Marcus Fizer, Iowa State – Chicago Bulls SHITE

    I don’t know. I didn’t do much research on this, but I’d be satisfied with a lot of these picks, and Rik Smits was not very good at scoring efficiently or rebounding, so, I don’t know. #4 pick could be Chris Paul or Dion Waiters, which are the absolute extremes of the NBA talent pool. Since players like Thompson, Westbrook and Paul have been available in the slot, I’d say that it’s okay to be optimistic that he could be a franchise-defining player. Smits wasn’t even close to that.

  64. @47 Totes, I just wanted to thank you for that heads up about the “Phil Files” series. Wow is that good stuff! What I got out of that was that the team, for the most part, went through the motions and never bought into the system. I wonder if Billy King read this part about Bargnani:

    But Bargnani’s various injuries are particularly annoying. “At practice just the other day,” Jackson recalls, “he had no trouble running through some basic no-contact skill drills. Defensive slides. Defending sideline screen-rolls. Then, when we were running through some five-on-none offensive situations, Bargnani was on the sidelines. When I asked him why he wasn’t out there, he said that he was told only to do the warm-ups.”

    Perhaps that’s why the collective “we” were celebrating when the Nets signed him.

  65. He’s 7’1″ in bare feet. That’s the way they measure and list players in Europe. It’s also one of measurements at the NBA combine.

    He’s 7’3″ in sneakers. That’s the way they list players in the NBA. So to be consistent with the other NBA listings, he’s 7’3″.

    You could see that the 7’1″ listing was incorrect for NBA standards on draft night when he towered over Okafor and Towns.

  66. stratomatic,

    Totally agree that rebounding stats are at least partially dependent on role. Rebounding stats seem to be the gospel for some people, but it’s hard to base an entire individual player evaluation on them. Given the same natural rebounding ability, the guy asked to stand closer to the basket is probably going to get more rebounds. Then there are some other marginal factors that might influence an individual player’s numbers like a Robin Lopez who seals off opponents or a guy (I think Tyson Chandler was cited as an example at one point) who has a habit of tipping rebounds to teammates who ultimately collect the rebound stat. I feel like rebounds as a box score stat is one possible starting point for a conversation about how good a player is, but a lot of people seem to treat it as an end-point.

    I think part of the thing with the whole “weight” thing is just that different guys have different body-types, so weight and strength aren’t totally correlated. The battle in the paint doesn’t just go to the guy who is heavier for multiple reasons including that his weight doesn’t necessarily make him stronger.
    Another thing, of course, is that we probably don’t even know exactly what body type Zinger has yet since he hasn’t fully matured. Without looking into it, I’d guess there are some genetic factors playing into how much weight he gains the next few years as well as work ethic factors.

  67. @73 great post. For the role dictating rebounding just look at Melo. I guess it was a couple years ago he average 10 rebs a game for the first half of the season because his role dictated it at that time. I also think height is a greater value that sheer mass in rebounding ability. Once you have good technique your height will be the bigger advantage in most cases.

  68. 1. Porzingas measured 7’1? and 220 lbs at the draft combine. Everything else (like 7’3? in sneakers) should be taken with a grain of salt.

    He wasn’t at the draft combine. Impact reported him at 7 1.25″ and 230 without shoes.

    2. Why did I bring up Brad Sellers. 7’0? and 210 lbs at the draft combine. It is the same body type.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/s/sellebr01.html

    That’s with shoes, which was the old way of reporting.

  69. Dr. Nelson’s Independent Research Verifier,

    Please change your username.

    Your subjective “SHITE” and Wesley Johnson is a great pick valuations aside, Smits is far better than the average #4 pick. We probably shouldn’t limit the sample to guy picked exactly #4, anyway, as it’s a tiny sample of guys who aren’t necessarily more comparable to Zinger than a #3 or a #5 pick in any given draft. Even within the framework of your “analysis,” though, 3 of 13 being what you consider great players, better than Smits… means we should expect that? You have more than half of the picks (7 of 13) at “SHITE” or “nah” or “eh” and then have somehow listed Wesley Johnson (high season of WS/48 of 0.041) and Shaun Livingston (who did very little for the team that drafted him and hasn’t done much overall) as good picks. You’re looking at at least 9/13 or 69% pretty terrible picks by your evaluation.

  70. Ted,

    The biggest problem I have with trying to combine stats into some single all encompassing number is weighing them properly against each other. If you look at the popular models, they all weigh each factor differently and they all make a pretty good case for why they are right. So who really knows what rebounds are worth in the grand scheme of things.

    In general, I’m a big fan of rebounding. I think they get overlooked a little because so much weight is put on scoring. However, I’m not at the extreme like Wins Produced. That model has often rated Dirk as an average player partly because he doesn’t rebound very well compared to the average PF. It also often rated Fields as an above average player because he’s a terrific rebounder for a SG/SF.

    I think I’m with you.

    I like good rebounders and think it’s important, but you have to view it in terms of the player’s role on the team, including whether the guy boxes out or tips balls which allows teammates to get more of them, and who else he plays with.

  71. Just to toss out a name I haven’t seen yet, Raef Lafrentz. Shot the 3, good shot blocker when he was younger, not a great rebounder.

  72. Was this piece written by IsolaBerman or a member of this blog?

    Actually the best comparison is Rik Smits.

    lol…. Smits was a plodding, glacially slow non shot blocking (1.3 / game) banger with a decent mid range j who almost never shot a 3 (11% for his career).

    Zinger is much quicker, shot > 36% in a men’s league over 50 games from 3 as a 19 year old… It’s like comparing a Hyperion to a satyr :-)

    On an early play, he blocked a shot, then fell for a head fake and ran into an opponent going for the block. .Yes that’s partially from being 19 years old in his first NBA game.But also it’s lack of quickness that contributed to it.

    We have new parameters here…. anyone who goes for a head fake (even after bloking a shot) went for the head fake because he is slow! lol…..

    His outside shot didn’t seem to be fluid, esp. compared to another Knick recent draftee Gallinari.

    Right… a 7′ 3″ guy’s shot doesn’t look like a small forward’s…. ok…. he somehow made > 36% on threes in Europe last year…. and you make this “judgment” from a sample size of exactly one???

    One shot was an awkward alley-oop that he guided to the hoop, as opposed to slam

    Now he gets criticized for completing and alleyoop, but didn’t slam it down and hang on the rim with one of those uber douche “primal screams”? This is now a weakness of some sort.

    Due to fact the he makes everyone else look like an 11 year old, he can get this shot off nearly at will. But if he can’t hit them, these are worthless

    This is my very favorite… the guy scored 12 points on 5 shots going 3 for 5 from the floor. But now his shot selection is questionable. He missed a 3!!! Even though as a 19 yr old he shot >36& from 3 with a TS% in the high 50’s…. beware of his questionable shot selection…. from a sample size of exactly…

  73. Good post Mike. Very interested to see KP in action. It’s nice to have a couple rookies to follow that you can at least be hopeful about.

    Very sorry to have missed the Bargnani celebration thread. I would by lying if I didn’t admit to loving how bad he actually was in some dark corner of my heart. Eddy Curry was the all-time greatest in that department. You could count on him to be entertainingly awful almost every night. Bargs was close though.

    It’s good to know that the fun will continue on YES this fall….

  74. So here’s some of the names I’ve seen on this thread used as comparisons to Zinger:

    Shawn Bradley
    Brad Sellers
    Rik Smits
    Raef Lafrentz
    Manute Bol
    Chuck Nevitt

    If it was raining out, this would be the most depressing Monday ever.

  75. I didn’t get to watch the game and one thing that hasn’t been mentioned much is his handle. Did he get to put the ball on the floor at all? That’s one of the areas where he looked weakest in pre-draft videos I saw, and one of the areas where I think he’ll need to progress most to reach true stardom. Not coincidentally it’s also an area where his height is a significant drawback.

    I see both Durant and Dirk getting tossed around as upside comps. Durant has a truly exceptional handle for his height. Dirk’s is more just okay, but he can handle enough to isolate a guy 1 on 1 and get by him to the hoop if you try to get way up on him to crowd the jumper. Porzingis will need to be able to do at least that to achieve offensive stardom I think.

  76. No d-mar. I specifically wrote that Shawn Bradley, Manute Bol and Chuck Nevitt were BAD comps, because they were even taller and skinnier.

  77. @82 he handled it 2.5 times and looked slightly better than expected, but the Durant comparisons are truly silly for this reason. He is not and will never be in the same Galaxy in this department. Of course James Worthy would be the worst living basketball analyst if Byron Scott and Magic weren’t around.

    I stand by a taller Jonathan Bender. And we have no idea whether that’s a bad or good thing.

  78. One concern I have which isn’t solely related to the Zinger is the team contsruction as a whole. If Grant is our long term point guard, the Zinger and RoLo are our long term front court guys, and Melo is our long term Melo, that’s four starters who project to be anywhere from god awful (Grant) to slightly above average (Melo) as rebounders. I know RoLo has demonstrated an ability to make rebounds more accessible to his teammates, but I’m not sure how that plays out when those teammates are bad rebounders themselves. Rebounding can still be had on the relative cheap on the free agent market so maybe it’s not the worst issue to have, but definitely something to look out for IMO.

  79. so now i’m being violent and defensive? seriously?

    all i asked is that you show me where i’m wrong.. i gave you the data… what’s wrong with it? WS? well you know that should tell you how crappy these guys were…

    it’s 3 simple statistical categories that are reasonable proxies for inside scoring and defensive ability… your contention is that it’s very simple for someone to not show big men skills early on in their career and then magically develop it later… the data shows that if you don’t play like a big man in your rookie year.. you’re probably going to be bad… isn’t that what we were discussing? what exactly is not relevant?

  80. No d-mar. I specifically wrote that Shawn Bradley, Manute Bol and Chuck Nevitt were BAD comps, because they were even taller and skinnier.

    Oops, sorry about that Ephus, I guess I’m getting bombarded with so many “comps” to Zinger I just lumped them in.

    Of course, now I see the post above referencing “a taller Jonathan Bender”. Kill me now.

  81. @85 – one of the promising things from the first SL game was that grant picked up a bunch of rebounds… which is a very good sign because he had such a low reb rate in college… if he can keep it up you could probably say it was a coaching strategy to have him not go after them and not reflective of his athletic ability…

  82. “Shawn Bradley seems to be missing from that list of super tall guys who played 2,000+ minutes in a season, which he did four times. Bradley generally wasn’t good enough to get on the floor for a huge amount of minutes, but he did stay relatively healthy throughout his career. He played in 70+ games seven times and had a few other seasons in the 60s.”

    I set an upper limit to 7’4″ and if I remove it, Bradley and Yao make the list more than once. Even Manute Bol makes a 1-time appearance. But it’s still very few guys.

    Btw, Bradley had a pretty good stretch of years from ’98-’99 to ’02-’03. He even posted a WS48 of .204 in ’02-’03 in 1700+ minutes. If you look at this video, you’ll definitely see some similarities to Zinger, and some big differences.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIfN-L43lKo

  83. @88 that’s a good point. It’s hard to imagine a 6’4″-6’5″ point guard being legitimately as bad as his numbers in a vacuum would indicate, so hopefully that takes care of itself.

  84. “Now he gets criticized for completing and alleyoop, but didn’t slam it down and hang on the rim with one of those uber douche “primal screams”? This is now a weakness of some sort.”
    Actually, I thought that that alley oop was an example of a strength, not a weakness. The pass was late and he caught it when he was clearly on the way down. The fact that he was still able to catch it and score was pretty impressive.

  85. I see both Durant and Dirk getting tossed around as upside comps. Durant has a truly exceptional handle for his height. Dirk’s is more just okay, but he can handle enough to isolate a guy 1 on 1 and get by him to the hoop if you try to get way up on him to crowd the jumper. Porzingis will need to be able to do at least that to achieve offensive stardom I think.

    To really be a high-usage, high efficiency scorer he probably has to develop a handle, but he could also develop a post-game or even just a really good ability to finish (Amare-esque). As you and ptmilo are both saying, I think, Durant is just a wildly best case comparison for his scoring ability that has almost no chance of happening. Of course that’s true for any player in an absolute sense, but even if everything goes right for Zinger he’s just not likely to be a wing-scorer like Durant.

    I stand by a taller Jonathan Bender. And we have no idea whether that’s a bad or good thing.

    It’s possible, but I don’t think it’s a particularly good comparison based on his play in Spain. Bender was a very tall wing player. Zinger was a weak/maturing interior player in Spain. Maybe he won’t really develop offensively and his best use will be to stand in a corner, but the chances of that plus his best use defensively being to guard 2s and 3s?

    I’m not sure how that plays out when those teammates are bad rebounders themselves. Rebounding can still be had on the relative cheap on the free agent market so maybe it’s not the worst issue to have, but definitely something to look out for IMO.

    I think the LaMarcus Aldridge example is meant to show that the RoLo effect works on bad rebounders. It could be something to keep an eye on, but I’m not even sure if it’s an issue… RoLo may have value beyond his TRBs, Zinger wasn’t a particularly bad rebounder in Spain, and Melo’s rebounding is solid at the 3.

  86. djphan,

    I’m not going to keep arguing with you. You have not at all responded to my comments, you have given my links to general stats pages with no explanation whatsoever of what you’re trying to say, and you have completely changed the goal-posts by bringing up an argument that you never made. That is all defensive behavior.

    your contention is that it’s very simple for someone to not show big men skills early on in their career and then magically develop it later…

    No, that is not my contention at all. What are you even talking about? And since when is rebounding the only bigman skill?

  87. what of this am i misinterpreting?

    I think for the most part it would be a short-term get him on the court / long-term he’s doesn’t get stronger but the shot and athleticism are there thing. Maybe early in his career he’s not strong enough to play inside and not coordinated/smart enough to keystone your defense, but he has some value for his shooting/length or you want to get him some exposure even if he stinks and the 3 is the least bad spot.

  88. and if all you think i’m referring to is rebounding then you obviously did not read… which is fine.. but don’t go accusing ppl of ‘changing the goalposts’ and ‘violent and defensive behavior’ … it points to a serious lack of self awareness when you are throwing those words around…

  89. Again, what sets him apart to me is his demeanor. He seems to get it…grounded, mature, studious, sense of humor and self…confidence without cockiness. I think he absolutely loves basketball and truly wants to be great, and is smart enough to figure out how to turn his gifts into greatness on the basketball court. As John Rambo said in First Blood II, the best weapon is the mind, and that’s where he impresses me most thus far.

  90. I can find the downside to almost anything. It’s my best quality (or worst depending on your point of view). I have a long checklist of things I look for in a player. It’s extremely rare for me to give someone a check mark in every category. Honestly, I know it’s early, but I can’t find anything wrong with this kid either physically, mentally, or in terms of character. I wasn’t totally on board before the draft because I thought WCS was a really good fit. I also liked Winslow (and obviously Russell and Towns). But right now I really don’t want to switch places with anyone. Towns is probably more certain . But I love Zinger.

  91. djphan, enough with the lying and distorting comments. If you think I said that it’s easy to stink and magically improve or you think you were talking about more than rebounding earlier today, you are mistaken. I did not say that at any point and you talked about nothing but rebounding as the difference between Dirk, Chris Bosh Al Harrington, Toine, Channing Frye, Cliff Robinson…

    If you want to have a discussion, we can do that. Please stop with the viciously argumentative comments, though.

  92. Please stop with the viciously argumentative comments

    Funniest thing I’ve read on the board all day.

  93. @82 he handled it 2.5 times and looked slightly better than expected, but the Durant comparisons are truly silly for this reason. He is not and will never be in the same Galaxy in this department.

    Thanks pt.

    To really be a high-usage, high efficiency scorer he probably has to develop a handle, but he could also develop a post-game or even just a really good ability to finish (Amare-esque). As you and ptmilo are both saying, I think, Durant is just a wildly best case comparison for his scoring ability that has almost no chance of happening. Of course that’s true for any player in an absolute sense, but even if everything goes right for Zinger he’s just not likely to be a wing-scorer like Durant.

    I’m not sure he will ever have the body to be a real back it down low-post threat (really requires top level strength). If he is able to develop an effective post game I expect it will be more of a Dirk-style high-post game that revolves around a very effective fade-away as his main weapon. That will require at least enough handle to use as a counter when people really get up in his jersey there. I also worry about whether he has the vision to pick apart doubles from there. As for Amare, I really don’t see the springs to be a truly elite P&R big. But we’re certainly in agreement that Durant is a flimsy comp at best. I honestly can’t see Zinger being effective as an NBA wing on either end of the court.

    This is the biggest reason I was against the pick, I just can’t find the comp in my mind that allows me to see how he’s going to be an offensive star. That said, if there’s anyone who’s going to break the mold it’s probably a 7’3″ Latvian with a smooth jumper.

  94. Please stop with the viciously argumentative comments, though.

    Can’t tell if trolling…

    Seriously, if you think djphan is being both vicious and argumentative, I would suggest that you don’t actually know what those words mean. Get a grip and stop taking everything so personally just because someone disagrees with you.

  95. I’m not sure he will ever have the body to be a real back it down low-post threat (really requires top level strength)… Dirk-style high-post game that revolves around a very effective fade-away as his main weapon… handle to use as a counter … the vision to pick apart doubles from there.

    Pro-caliber post-up scoring and bigman passing ability seem like skills often picked up relatively late (not super-late, but later than 19), so I don’t really think we can say at this point. He’s certainly got the frame. His body could develop a number of ways. My overall point is that he might be much more of a traditional big, when all is said and done, than Dirk or certainly Durant. He might be a fairly traditional 5 (not that all traditional 5s have the same game, but neither Dirk nor Durant is close to one).

    I think that Dirk is a convenient comparison as a physically raw European rookie bigmen with good shooting touch. I think Durant is a convenient comparison because he’s skinny and can shoot. Otherwise, they’re just random names…

    As for Amare, I really don’t see the springs to be a truly elite P&R big.

    It’s unlikely he’ll ever be Amare, but I can’t imagine you’ve watched tape of him and haven’t seen elite finishes above the rim. There’s a lot more that went into being Amare thanleaping ability but if the positioning and strength happen to come around I think Zinger has the athleticism. P&R is considered among his strengths, especially since he’s a threat to hit the jumper as well as dive.

    This is the biggest reason I was against the pick, I just can’t find the comp in my mind that allows me to see how he’s going to be an offensive star.

    I think that’s because you’re limiting the possible comparisons to two truly among the best ever shooters. This is why comparisons are dangerous: they limit our thinking, and we tend to think of the extremes.

  96. ted says:

    I did not say that at any point and you talked about nothing but rebounding as the difference between Dirk, Chris Bosh Al Harrington, Toine, Channing Frye, Cliff Robinson…

    i said:

    bargs, frye, cliff robinson, al harrington, antoine walker are examples of guys who didn’t quite have the inside scoring and rebounding ability and so they’re efficiency and contributions vacillated wildly year to year depending on how their shot was falling…

    and i’m now waiting for an apology from you for starting an argument because you do not know how to read…

  97. Seriously, if you think djphan is being both vicious and argumentative, I would suggest that you don’t actually know what those words mean. Get a grip and stop taking everything so personally just because someone disagrees with you.

    It has nothing to do with disagreeing with me or me not having a grip. It has to do with misrepresenting my comments to pretend I was saying things I was not and misrepresenting his own comments to pretend he was saying things that he never wrote. If you can’t see that, I would suggest you haven’t read our conversation.

  98. djphan, enough with the lying and distorting comments… Please stop with the viciously argumentative comments

    Yeesh, here we go again.

    I just read the whole thread. djphan made some pretty benign comments about big men that couldn’t play in the paint. (His biggest sin that I can see is that he called Chris Bosh “wildly efficient”:)

    Since that statement he’s tried to provide everything you’ve asked for (and done it in a patient manner).

    I just don’t understand why you can’t just interact with people here the way everybody else interacts.

  99. djphan,

    My mistake on the scoring efficiency point. You are quoting a mistake I made hours after your original point, though, which has only a minor bearing on the points that I was making to you today (about the value of comps). Which is exactly my point… you want to argue with me and prove me “wrong,” not actually discuss anything that has to do with basketball.

    You made a point that is Zinger cannot score or rebound in the NBA he’s unlikely to be good. Is that really point that has to be made? Does anyone disagree with you? You’re ignoring all the nuance of the points that I’m making… for example, an out-of-position rookie season not being a death sentence is something you’ve somehow turned into “he’ll be terrible and then magically get better.” Very different things. You went from saying he has to be good as a rookie to linking to 5 year NBA totals for some players. You’re just arguing to argue points that no one disagrees with.

  100. This WCS interview is a vicious assault on my intelligence and has nothing to do with finally watching Bazingus

  101. Ted, just because you see bait, doesn’t mean you need to take it. Over the last few days, you’ve been arguing unpopular positions on this board, and you’ve taken a lot of grief over it. But if you’re going to take unpopular positions, you’ve got to have the guts to rise above the occasional mockery. You can’t take it all so personally. By the way, I think I agree with you more than djphan on this topic. I just don’t think you’re representing yourself well. If anything, it’s you who seems defensive.

  102. I just read the whole thread. djphan made some pretty benign comments about big men that couldn’t play in the paint. (His biggest sin that I can see is that he called Chris Bosh “wildly efficient”:)

    Since that statement he’s tried to provide everything you’ve asked for (and done it in a patient manner).

    I really am not interested in having this conversation, and it is other people who are directly addressing comments to me… but… that’s really not how things happened.

    djphan made a comment using a bunch of random Fs, segmented into two groups (Dirk and Bosh vs. everyone from Bargs to Frye to Al Harrington to Antoine Walker to Cliff Robinson). I questioned both his segmentation and the value of making arguments about a player’s future value based on nothing but a handful of examples. Neither of those points was EVER addressed by djphan. I mean I haven’t seen one explanation of how Dirk is a decent rebounder. Instead, I got comments with nothing but a link to a generic page where you can sort players at basketball-reference (if you think that’s giving me what I asked for… you probably didn’t click the link…) and references to points he made last week that have almost no relationship to what I was saying. I was told that I was saying things I never said, that had next to nothing to do with the points I actually made today.

    I really have no idea why we’re still discussing this. I don’t think I’ve made an actual point since I said that comparisons are a questionable analysis tool. Since then I’ve done little more than reply directly to points made in djphan’s comments.

  103. I see both Clyde and Coach button the polo all the way to the top. That shit is crazy

  104. The answer to this:

    I really have no idea why we’re still discussing this.

    is this:

    Since then I’ve done little more than reply directly to points made in djphan’s comments.

  105. Reading all the comments here, I conclude there are no good comps for Zinger. There just aren’t that many players taller than 7′ in the NBA and they all seem different from him in some way. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just different. Assuming he doesn’t get injured it will be fun to see what he turns into.

  106. I don’t know if Porzingis is going to be Kevin Durant or Shawn Bradley, but he is fun to root for. The only other Latvian I know in the NBA is Andres Biedrins. He could have been good, if not for a hip injury. :/ Porzingis is a much better shooter, but physically they’re a lot alike. Biedrins biggest problem seemed to be that he didn’t like basketball much. Porzingis seems like a gymrat. I think he’s going to be interesting. Who knows if he’ll be good?!?

  107. Ted, just because you see bait, doesn’t mean you need to take it. Over the last few days, you’ve been arguing unpopular positions on this board, and you’ve taken a lot of grief over it. But if you’re going to take unpopular positions, you’ve got to have the guts to rise above the occasional mockery. You can’t take it all so personally.

    Appreciate it. I should definitely let things go more easily. At the same time, I don’t think I should have to deal with poor treatment just because I disagree with what people are saying.

    The answer to this:

    I really have no idea why we’re still discussing this.

    is this:

    Since then I’ve done little more than reply directly to points made in djphan’s comments.

    That’s about half the answer.

    “Reading all the comments here, I conclude there are no good comps for Zinger. There just aren’t that many players taller than 7? in the NBA and they all seem different from him in some way. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just different. Assuming he doesn’t get injured it will be fun to see what he turns into.”

    Tend to agree. That’s part of why I’ve been saying that comps aren’t necessarily the best way (or even a good way) to project players. This is really clear when dealing with a small sample of guy over 7’0″ who can shoot from outside. The players have to line up along so many different dimensions for it to even be a meaningful comp, and even if that happens… what are the chances that they both take the same development path?

  108. for my own sanity… i’m gonna drop it… mr. nelson… please try to read carefully and don’t assume everyone is out to get you…

  109. This WCS interview is a vicious assault on my intelligence and has nothing to do with finally watching Bazingus

    A nickname arises! I’m down with Bazingas. At the very least I foresee great drinking games in the playoffs…

  110. for my own sanity… i’m gonna drop it… mr. nelson… please try to read carefully and don’t assume everyone is out to get you…

    So, you’re still completely and totally unwilling to engage in a conversation where you address something, anything that is being said by someone else? Ted is wrong and needs to do a better job. That is all. Of all the dozens of things I’ve said in this thread, that’s it.

    You are truly amazing.

  111. @123 I like the unselfishness by Grant on that play. Wide open 3, he passed it into the big man in the paint. This team is playing nice ball to start the game.

  112. Stupid asshole NBA TV just cut off my feed of the game. Well, at least I got to see the Zinger make that little baby hook.

    Never mind, it’s back, although there’s some giant balding Greek guy playing for NYK and I’m getting the Laker feed instead of Clyde.

  113. Well, the Knicks scrubs seem to be better than the Lakers scrubs. So there’s that.

  114. Man I love what Porzy brings to the table. He just patrols the paint like a goalie. I don’t even care about the boards. He runs the floor… And has some smart little moves under the basket. Looks a little like McHale out there.

  115. Ricky Ledo has never completed 4 consecutive dribbles without at least a partial fumble

  116. Well, nothing wrong with those post moves so far.
    Ndour is a lanky blur of energy!

  117. Another great assist by Grant.
    Thanasis lost the handle and was out of control driving.

  118. I always assumed that Chris Kaman would eventually change his name and sneak onto the Knicks’ summer league team

  119. Gallo had 4 boards too. Probably gonna need that from him this year.

    Be pretty cool if this was a real game. The summer Knicks have a lot of length out there being disruptive

  120. Grant, Doom, and Early look like the only clear NBA level players so far. Randle too, for the Lakers.

  121. Knicks hold Lakers to 5 pt 1st quarter. So far Grant > Russell. Did Russell play?

  122. Kirk looks better than I thought he’d be; not a stiff so far. Uber small sample size, of course. Early looks very quick and aggressive.

  123. N’dor looked way better so far. Did a good job on Randle. A bit trigger happy on O but he’s young.

  124. Captain Kirk is growing on me

    He does boldly go where no NBA player has gone before

  125. I know he’s part of the whole nasty Dolan machine, but I find myself having a hard time hating Steve Mills whenever he does an appearance like this.

  126. No idea how he will do against NBA competition, but Ndour is definitely getting very close to a training camp invite.

  127. OK. Now it looks like Summer League ball with rookies and D-leaguers. Yikes!

  128. ted… if you feel wronged by me.. i’m sorry… i just wanted to drop it… it really doesn’t make me feel any better to get into arguments over miscommunication…

  129. Interesting that he came in with so much hype about the 3-ball and he’s scored all his points inside the arc. It’s interesting that he likes to use the glass…not that he’s Tim Duncan or anything.

  130. A poster on another knick board was amazed how fluid the Zinger looked pregame against the Spurs. Said he moved, dribbled, and shot like a 6’6 wing and then he stands next to someone and you realize that his is 7’1+.

  131. I promised myself I wouldn’t look at a summer league box score, but I had to peek, and Zinger with 1 rebound in 9:33? Seems like he should pull in at least 3 or 4 without much effort just by being anywhere near the basket.

  132. I was impressed with Zinger’s quick left handed baby hook. Good footwork and no hesitation. I don’t know if that’s improvised or part of his regular arsenal. It looked sweet though.

  133. I promised myself I wouldn’t look at a summer league box score, but I had to peek, and Zinger with 1 rebound in 9:33?

    Not many to go around with Langston Rodman out there

  134. @HerringWSJ
    Asked what NYs next move should be, Phil said he still wants another backup C. Said he extended an offer to Aldrich, but he signed with LAC.

    This suggests he wants to play O’Quinn some at PF, or at least wants the flexibility to do so. (Lopez has never played a huge minutes load, after all.)

    Also from Herring:

    Asked abt Melo’s patience w/ the rebuild, Phil said he obviously wants NY to be competitive now, but stressed “basketball is a team sport.”

  135. Kirk is impressing me. He looks like someone that would have no coordination but he has moves and a soft shot.

  136. you can say this much for zinger’s handle. when he puts the ball on the floor you don’t see the eyes of 100 athletic and eager summer league guards light up like it’s christmas. he’s never going have a gallo-level face up game (let alone durant), but he is damn unique for a 7′ 3″ dude. maybe i’m falling into the summer league spell but i’m happier today than i was on draft day.

  137. Yellowboy mentions Cole and, on cue, they show a close up of Kirk huffing and puffing. Classic.
    By the way, Ndour looks pretty good. Russell has been brutal tonight.

  138. If Kirk makes it how funny would it be that all the players received in the OKC/CLE/NY trade would be cut and resigned.

  139. I can see a plan where Calderon and Afflalo are mentoring young guards like Grant and Galloway. I’m liking that back court right now.

  140. Galloway with the D and Grant with the dishing would be something to try to grow this year

  141. Yellowboy mentions Cole and, on cue, they show a close up of Kirk huffing and puffing. Classic.

    I laughed when I saw that. But it was so bittersweet

  142. Frankly, Labeyrie has outplayed Thanasis. 5 rebounds. Not a lot of minutes for him, though.

  143. Wow. I didn’t know Grant was one of the 5 first team All-Americans with Towns, Okafor, Russell and Kaminsky.

  144. One thing Porzingis seems to have trouble with is timing on rebounds and blocks.

  145. Could this league be just a tick faster than what Porzingis is used to from Europe?

  146. The summer league? Nah, but it has a bit more high level talent. A good euro team would fuck up summer league squads.

  147. Would be nice if they ran a couple plays for zinger — players have missed him a few times. Still unclear what is the consistent way he’ll get his shots. Think he’d be good at pinch post but mostly bc he’s the center 100% of the time – they have him in low post where he’s not strong enough yet

  148. Grant has impressed with his heady play …promising, and he hit s couple jumpers. Russell was thinking too much and trying too many non-technical passes. I think a couple of his passes could have squeaked by were it not fast hand knicks

  149. 5 Knicks will end up out-rebounding Zinger.
    Clyde just considered Grant over Calderon as the starting lead guard. “Maybe… he has a lot of things going….”.

  150. Porzingis seems to have much better defensive instincts than I expected. The Lakers really seemed to have a lot of trouble getting to the basket against him.

  151. lol yea .. the only blemish in an otherwise sterling game…

    porzingis started ok but finished really bad… he did start to go after rebounds and jumping… just always really late or early…

    and the acb is good from a talent perspective but it’s pretty much a jump shooting league… it’s not really all that physical… there isn’t anyone there that will drive and get right into your chest like porzingis saw multiple times today…

  152. Zinger obviously is going to have some trouble with the more physically powerful NBA bigs, but his defense has been promising

  153. Well, next game features Okafor, so there’s that.

    But again, he’s a 20yo rookie. If he survives this year with intact knees and feet, I’m cool.

  154. Instincts, effort, and toughness notwithstanding, it might be hard to give Zinger major minutes against NBA bigs for a while. It looked like he can get pushed off the block fairly easily by 6’9″ skinny guys. He also seemed to have no feel for rebounding the ball even when he is right there in the mix. His help D does look decent though. Grant looks just like I expected in the SL. Looking forward to seeing how he’ll do as a rookie.

  155. Yeah, the whole “getting pushed around by skinny players” is what has always worried me about Zinger (as it happened a lot over in the ACB), but it’s still very early in his development. He just needs to get bigger. So, well, get bigger now Zinger, please! Pretty please?

  156. even tho he does look iffy against other bigs… he still needs to be out there…. for better or worse it’s the only way he’ll learn to go after the ball when competing against nba bigs…

  157. Yes. The 19-year old Zinger will be out-muscled in the paint this year. But RoLo won’t. What will we have in a 22-year old Porzingis?

    Look at these two lineups with the ages:
    Calderon 33, Afflalo 29, Anthony 31, Amundson 32, Lopez 27
    Grant 22, Galloway 23, Early 24, Williams 24, Porzingis 19

    It seems that part of the plan was to give Melo a veteran team core but also position the team for 3 years from now. I see a lot of the mentor/prodigy thing going on once camp opens.

  158. djphan,

    What’s your experience with the ACB? The ACB is a physical league and calling it a “jump shooting league” is not really accurate. There are plenty of good shooters but there are also plenty of guys who couldn’t make the NBA because they lacked a jumper but have NBA level strength and athleticism. The league also generally features some guys who will make the NBA but just haven’t yet (not only young guys, either). If you watch some tape of Zinger you will see him getting pushed around plenty in the ACB.

  159. So far I think I’m pretty thrilled with what I’ve seen from the STAPS. I think he’ll pack on some pounds over time, he’s basically still going through puberty

  160. it’s just not a physical league at all… the paint play is very .. anti foul… boxing out is not anything like even ncaa… alot of it has to do with the refs but also the players… there just aren’t that many guards that finish strong in the league and there aren’t too many skilled bigs… so it’s mostly picks and motion and shooting… you get some postups.. there aren’t too many guys fighting tooth and nail for a rebound…

    just take a look at this game.. and many others… and count how many times ppl are jockeying after a boxout…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpjtsYpwG5Y

    then just compare the physicality to ncaa d1.. it is night and day…

  161. I wonder if they will sign N’dour. One of the reasons he said he chose to play with the knicks was their willingness to let him go overseas instead of play in the D-league. I wonder if that means he doesn’t want to go the Galloway route but would be okay if he was the 15th man who plays mostly DL but gets the occasional call up?

  162. I hope I’m wrong but I can see the Knicks being a much better team this year with the 4 free agents and Grant but not getting much out of Porzingis. I saw little more than a shorter, inexperienced Shawn Bradley tonight.

  163. djphan,

    Avoiding the question again? I lived in Spain for 5 years. I know the league extremely well. There isn’t the level of skill, but it absolutely is a physical game down low. It’s where NBA big like Scola, Marc Gasol, Splitter… played until their mid-20s. Many undersized bruisers who weren’t skilled enough for the NBA have long careers in Spain along with some lumbering bigs who lack NBA athleticism or skill. I can assure you that guys are fighting for rebounds with anyone in the NBA.

  164. I hope both Zinger and the Knicks benefit from low expectations this year. Less pressure from media and fans might lead to fewer bad personnel decisions and more reasonable timelines for young players to develop. I don’t expect great things this year but I’m OK with the direction overall and with what seems like a good shift in culture.

  165. I wonder if they will sign N’dour. One of the reasons he said he chose to play with the knicks was their willingness to let him go overseas instead of play in the D-league.

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised with his activity level and skill. Hate to say it since Thanasis has somehow turned into my son’s favorite player, but he looks like more of an NBA-level player than Thanasis does. Long, blocks shots, plays hard, and can actually shoot the ball– shot 34 then 43.5% from college 3 on reasonable volume, 2.4 blocks/40.

    From the limited minutes he’s played so far, Thanasis just doesn’t seem like he’s developed much. Jumper still very flat. If he could just hit a corner 3 at 34-35% he would be playable but right now he still lets the D play 5 on 4.

    Re: Porzingis – he didn’t get the ball much last night in the Galloway/Early/Ledo chuckfest last night but I’m really happy about his activity level. He set about 1000 screens last night, was always moving off the ball. He also seems to play under control on the offensive end, which is something you don’t necessarily expect to see out of a 19 year old — check out the 2nd highlight on this link — may not seem like much but he doesn’t seem like he’s in a hurry at all. Nice.

    Defensively, he was fine. Was robbed of 2 clean blocks by the zebras. His standing reach must be like 9’6″. But yeah — his rebounding instincts are poor. Even when he’s in position, it’s like the ball moves faster than he’s expecting it to and caroms right by him.

    Man did D’angelo Russell look like garbage last night. It’s early yet but as of now, he can’t finish in the paint over even summer-league level size and athleticism. He’s going to need to do some Steph Curry-like magic improvement in the paint.

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