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

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

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

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

What happened on Draft Day 2015

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

What will be written on draft day in 2018

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

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

Here is Porzingis in 2014…

kristaps2014

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

kristaps2015

Here they are side-by-side…

kristaps2014-15

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

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

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

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

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

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97 thoughts to “What If… With the 4th Pick The Knicks Draft: Kristaps Porzingis”

  1. …we pray that he very quickly develops into the next Dirk. Nowitski, I mean, not Diggler. Maybe lots of American fast food can beef him up.

    Seriously, no way that this happens unless some team covets him and the Knicks have a deal in place. I guess that if Jackson wants a tall, skinny shooter that he’d trade back a few places and take Kaminsky.

  2. The other Euro guy seems like a better shooter-he’s only 6 months older, plays slightly fewer minutes than the Zinger, but for a much better team, and has consistently shot the ball from downtown at a higher percentage. Does he not get the hype because he’s 4 inches shorter?

  3. The other Euro guy seems like a better shooter-he’s only 6 months older, plays slightly fewer minutes than the Zinger, but for a much better team, and has consistently shot the ball from downtown at a higher percentage. Does he not get the hype because he’s 4 inches shorter?

    I guess European bigs have been relatively more successful than wings, so they get more hype.

    Everybody hopes Porzingis is the next Nowitzki. At his height, it is difficult to defend his shot… but he hasnt shot that well actually. I would be afraid that he turns out like Victor Claver… (To be fair, Claver was 4 years older when he came to the NBA)

    I like Hezonja quite a lot. Not only he has shot near 40% both in the ACB and the Euroleague, but he looks athletic and has good size for the position. Not sure what to make about his character issues, though.

  4. This is based exclusively on a 15 minute draft express video so treat it with the appropriate amount of respect, but this is basically my worst nightmare with the pick. This guy looks 100% exactly like Bargnani 2.0 to me. Tall guy with a pretty nice touch on his jumper but overall shooting stats aren’t blowing you away, no inside game, poor passer, mediocre rebounder, doesn’t like the physical side of the game, lacking fundamentals on D, poor instincts, lacks a feel for the game. And yet it seems like all the scouts are saying basically, “Yes, all of that is true, but not many guys his size can do the things he can do”. I mean I’ve seen this exact movie before and it ends with me laughing/crying while watching GIFs like this one.

    Could he be Dirk? Yeah, there’s probably a chance. There really aren’t a lot of 7-footers who can do the things that he can do. But I’d feel a lot more comfortable if I thought there was one basketball skill that this guy was actually exceptional at, rather than just exceptional compared to other 7-footers. Because if you can’t do the stuff that the other 7-footers can do at least passably, and I don’t think he can, then the ability to do other things isn’t really that great.

  5. Could he be Dirk? Yeah, there’s probably a chance

    No. It’s extraordinarily unlikely that he will be Dirk. Dirk wasn’t just a 7′ tall German who could shoot. He was a good rebounder, he was a good NBA 3 point shooter, and he could generate lots of free throw attempts. That’s what separates Dirk from most shitty stretch bigs-Dirk was good at a bunch of things. Even a pretty good stretch big like Aldridge (who, like Dirk, can rebound) isn’t as good at generating FTAs and can’t shoot 3’s. The Zinger can’t rebound for shit in Europe. He’s shown some ability to get to the line, and some shooting ability. Those are good things, and I suppose there’s a chance he develops into a good NBA player. But Dirk? No way.

  6. I don’t want a big that can stretch the floor (see Spencer Hawes, Andrea Bargnani) I want a big that can rebound, block shots and finish around the basket.

    A big nyet to Kristaps.

  7. Alan Hahn tweeted something the other day that really hit the target — it’s not that Phil/Fish are anti-3 pointers — they’re not. Fish was a 3 point specialist by the end – 35-40% of his shots were 3’s. Phil’s teams were never allergic to taking 3 pointers. But where they were REALLY deficient last year is emphasizing 3 point defense. How many times did we hear that the emphasis was to protect the paint and give up the 3?

    Anyway I see almost no chance we draft Porzingis, if for no other reason than he’s 2-3 years away from even being physically able (from a strength perspective) to play with any impact in the NBA. If we stay at #4 I think there’s probably a 40% chance we draft Mudiay, 40% we draft Winslow, and 20% that we go with a big, whether it’s Kaminsky or WCS.

    I’m 100% fine with WCS – yes he doesn’t have a defined skill set on offense but he literally checks every single box on the other side of the ball. He’s as elite on D as Okafor is on offense. I don’t really have any concerns about his rebounding numbers – he was guarding the perimeter so much it seems altogether reasonable that his rebounding #s suffered.

  8. The other Euro guy seems like a better shooter-he’s only 6 months older, plays slightly fewer minutes than the Zinger, but for a much better team, and has consistently shot the ball from downtown at a higher percentage. Does he not get the hype because he’s 4 inches shorter?

    Yeah, Hezonja may be a better shooter, but he still is a poor rebounder, doesn’t pass, turns the ball over too much and has a reputation for being disinterested in defense and being a dick. He sounds like the European TH Jr. rather than the European Bargs. I’d rather not take a chance on either.

  9. No. It’s extraordinarily unlikely that he will be Dirk.

    Well obviously it’s extremely unlikely. I thought that my comment made that pretty clear. I do see the raw talent that has the scout drooling, but yeah, I think it’s extremely unlikely that he becomes as competent on the defensive end (and rebounding) as Dirk, or as lethal offensively (particularly because he can’t pass). He’s a definite pass for me.

  10. Yeah, Hezonja may be a better shooter, but he still is a poor rebounder, doesn’t pass, turns the ball over too much and has a reputation for being disinterested in defense and being a dick. He sounds like the European TH Jr. rather than the European Bargs. I’d rather not take a chance on either.

    If anything, he is an above average rebounder. And he does not seem to be a bad passer, either. You may be right about TOs, though.

  11. If anything, he is an above average rebounder.

    I mean, if you consider him a guard, then I guess he’s a solid rebounder. He’s 6’8, 200lbs though. I would think you would expect him to bulk up a bit and play SF in the NBA, where 4.5 Reb/36 ain’t gonna cut it.

  12. “I’m 100% fine with WCS – yes he doesn’t have a defined skill set on offense but he literally checks every single box on the other side of the ball”

    The problem for me with Willie Trill is that there is no upside. I dont want to pick a guy at 4 that doesnt have that upside potential. The guy was a junior and barely improved. On the other hand a guy like Winslow or Mudiay have the possibility of morphing into something great. I see Willie as Ed Davis, in that case just sign Ed.

  13. I think the optimist argument for WCS is that his TS% would be better in the pro game than it was at Kentucky, because he’d score more on rolls to the basket a la DeAndre Jordan or Tyson Chandler. He’s certainly very mobile for a man his size, so it makes some sense.

  14. Sir please check back to when Pau Gasol was 19. He was 7-0 205. I hope you do the homework next time of checking similar players. Lets face it Porzingis is 19–thats 19 and he has an ectomorphic body type very similar to Pau at 19. There are two players that team will make mistakes on not drafting POrzinigis and Kaminsky. The one player who will be taken early is Stein and his 2 points and 5 rebounds as an upperclassmen in the finals showing. Porzingis has skills that Stein who is nearly 3 years older–only dreams of.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZZETQoe-0U

  15. Can’t wait to sign this guy and see what kind of epic floor spacing can be had with TRIPLE BARGS.

  16. Willie Stein’s career to me is defined by his last and MOST important game

    Final four 1-4 2 points 5 rebounds 33 minutes.

    He is NOT engaged half the time. Thats why in the previous game Pat Connoghuton killed him on the boards albeit 7 inches shorter.

    Willie Stein is back up pro C. His upside is a POOR MAN Chandler. Tyson plays hard nearly all the time–Stein DOES NOT. Find me one good player who played in the final four who had similar numbers to Stein AND Kentucky shouldve lost BOTH games. I think it comes down to this–how does a 7-1 240 pound guy score 2 points in 33 minutes in a final four game. Im sure a GM should ask him that as question 1. Instead of biting the hype–hey Willie where were ya? You cant rebound against 6-5 guy but in the NBA theyre all your size.

  17. Don’t make me pull up Bargseses stats, because I swear to krom I will do it.

    Zinger is not a dud. He’s put up some decent numbers at a young age in a good league, and he is really tall. With the 4th pick, though? There are enough red flags to scare me off him

  18. Kristaps shoots the 3 ball on a 25% basis Thats 6 2’s and 2 3’s. I think when he comes here(hopefully) he is simply asked to play mid range and in while using the 3 ball to augment his game/team game for spacing because you dont want to take away that skill he excels at. He’s got a chance to be a SPECIAL defensive player–one who can guard the post and move out on perimeter players 5-4-3 He’s a guy you’d want to have to get a good shot off with small seconds on a shot clock or end of game situation. His form is excellent. His upside is high as pick #1 EASILY. I love Kaminsky but I can accept the two play plateau of Porzinigis as higher and both guards are also better than Stein.

  19. When you put on your scouting hat what do you look for when examining a player? Do you look at the player with the least negatives? What do you personally look for?

  20. Bargnanai 19 years old same age as POrzinigis

    Stats Euro

    5. points 2.5 rebounds 12 minutes

  21. Yellowboy–I’m looking at the player first-
    – skills both offense and defense. What does he do right what does he do wrong are problems fixable what can the player do to enhance a game demeanor–does he play at a high intensity or does he go through physical/mental lulls of down (to me a HUGE red flag)
    Body type size athleticism and how it translates to the individuals game. This is where I downplay a guy like Kaminsky since he is 7-1 with a TON of heart and determination. His skill determination(heart) and height outweigh his lack of lateral quickness and athleticism
    Work ethic–is the guy a gym rat? Does he care to improve?

  22. Side note: Sounds like Thibs was let go by the Bulls.

    Yeah, confirmed. And there’s a pretty good chance that he may be unemployed for a while; his reputation for burning out players may scare a lot of teams off.

    On another side note, I cannot WAIT to see the new Entourage movie, looks like a real gem. All those celebrity cameos alone are worth the price of admission.

  23. what kind of ass this Zinger got? Let’s talk real shit here. I don’t see anything from the front that gives me hope, but I’ve been surprised before.

  24. “a pretty good stretch big like Aldridge (who, like Dirk, can rebound)”
    Dirk’s career rebounds per 36 — 8.1; Aldridge’s career rebounds per 36 — 8.5; the Zinger’s rebounds per 36 as a scrawny 19 year old playing in a grown man’s league — 8.0. Dirk’s career TS % — .581; Aldridge’s career TS% — .532; the Zinger this year — just under .600. The Zinger also averages more steals and blocks/36 than both Aldridge and Dirk. Zinger’s numbers as a 19 year old were about the same as Mirotic as a 23 year old in the same league and infinitely better than Mirotic as a 19 year old — and Mirotic was one of the best rookies in the NBA this year. Like almost everyone else here, I’ve only seen him play in highlight videos, so I don’t know how good he is or isn’t, but I’m not sure why everyone is so down on him. By the way, he was listed as 6’11” last year and 7’1″ this year. If he’s grown an inch or two, that could explain why he hasn’t gotten more muscular.

  25. First, Dirk is 37 and Lamarcus is 29, so I think that might explain some of the career rebounding edge to LaMarcus. Dirk, in his prime, was an above average defensive rebounder. He wasn’t good on the offensive glass, but he was also playing far from the rim a lot (and to be fair, he was probably not a great natural offensive rebounder). He was a better rebounder than his pure stats suggest, and it’s one of the things that differentiates him from some of the next Dirks.

    As for the Zinger, you can’t compare his overall numbers to Mirotic, or Pau, because those guys played half their games in the euroleague, while Zinger played half his in the eurocup, which is not as good. Like I said, there are some intriguing things about the kid. He’s really tall, he can shoot a bit, and he can block some shots. If he fills out, and if he has NBA 3 point range, and if he can shoot better in the NBA than he did in Europe and if he can rebound better than sure, he’ll be good. But that’s a lot of ifs.

  26. For those old enough to remember the Reggie Pacers of the ’90’s, Smits was very effective on offense with his length, but much less so on D. Still created matchup problems, even with Ewing guarding him.

  27. Alexis Ajinca(my #1 value FA) is probably a good comparison when it comes to size. He weighed 207 lbs when he was 20. Once he was able to put weight on he became a pretty good player. Kristaps doesn’t look that far behind from what Ajinca is now.

  28. Who cares how skinny he is? Durant couldn’t bench 165 lbs. and when healthy he’s as close to a perfect basketball player as they come.

  29. Great point, Jowles. Many here were down on Durant, even after his rookie year.

    Of course, Zinger is nothing at all like Durant. I guess he’s worth a good, hard look. I’d feel a lot more comfortable taking him at #10 than #4, that’s for sure.

    BTW, does WoW have any PAWS40-based projections out yet?

    On a related note, it seems like agents are shielding prospects from being held up to the light more than ever. Look how many players dodged the combine this year.

  30. Who cares how skinny he is? Durant couldn’t bench 165 lbs. and when healthy he’s as close to a perfect basketball player as they come.

    In my opinion the difference is that it doesn’t matter how skinny Durant is because he still actually has great size for his position – both height and weight. He’s a SF who just happens to be exceptionally tall, not a PF who happens to be exceptionally skinny. He may be the skinniest guy on the court, but there really aren’t many guys at his position who can actually push him around. The Zinger, on the other hand, doesn’t have any chance of being a SF in the NBA. He’s a PF or a C, or he’s nothing. So it seems like he stands a lot better chance of getting pushed around than Durant.

  31. Yeah, but taking someone like Rick Smits or Ajinca at #4? No way!

    True but that was just a size comparison not a comparison of their skills. Even if Kristaps was Ajinca but didn’t get in foul trouble and could play 30 minutes plus a night, I would take that in this draft.

    Just going off his highlights, I like that he doesn’t seem to be just a pick and pop guy He actually looks good running off screens. I really would like to know if running of screens is a large part of his game.

  32. I think these discussions of various prospects are interesting, but the Knicks are going to wind up with Winslow or WCS with some smaller chance they take Mudiay or make a trade.

  33. Yeah, Durant plays a completely different position. It’s like saying, “Steph Curry isn’t big, so what’s the problem with Kristaps Porzingis not being big?”

    Porzingis can’t play NBA centers at the moment and he can’t even play other stretch 4s. Small ball fours like Corey Brewer would push him around. If you look at his scouting videos, the guy gets beat by everyone for rebounds, even guards, and as we know, European guards are not much for rebounding. Unless he gains a significant amount of weight, he’s going to be strictly a perimeter player, where yes, he’ll have the ability to be able to shoot over people, which is good, but that’s pretty much it. That has value, to be sure, but not top 4 value.

    If he fills out, then sure, he’ll be good. Doesn’t seem likely that he will fill out, though.

  34. When your promotional draft tape says your awareness and instincts on defense aren’t very good…at the four or five I’m concerned.
    Pass on Kristaps Porzingis.

  35. “He’s a good shooter for a guy his size” is what every dummy said about Andrea Bargnani. I don’t care if a seven footer is pretty good at knocking down 20 foot jumpers, I want my seven footer to rebound and play strong interior defense.

    It’s like having a catcher who can steal 15 bases, but who can’t throw anybody out and calls a lousy game. Who gives a shit about the 15 stolen bases if you suck at all the things a catcher is supposed to do?

  36. want my seven footer to rebound and play strong interior defense.

    I couldn’t agree more! If Bargnani did any of that, he would have had value. Without it, he’s a zero. This whole “stretch 4” thing gives me the chills.

  37. Yeah, but taking someone like Rick Smits or Ajinca at #4? No way!

    From what I’ve read here about Porzingis, I don’t see the Rik Smits comp at all. Smits was 7’4″ 250 and played exclusively in the post. He couldn’t shoot past 16 feet, and couldn’t run the floor. That said, Rik Smits had a run of very good years as the #1 option on the best team in the east. If Porzingis was to manage that, that would exceed expectations for this #4 pick, no?

    It seems that if we are looking for a tall, skinny european from the 1990s to compare him to, perhaps Detlef Schrempf is a better comp. Schrempf (6’10”, 214 lbs) was a weak rebounding power-forward that shot a lot of outside shots. But he had a few excellent seasons and was productive enough to manage a 15 year career in the league.

  38. Size matters. Its not the only thing that matters, but its certainly a relevant factor. If you’re tall and rail thin, but you are the most highly skilled tall and rail thin player in the world, than your mom can be the real MVP. If you’re tall and rail thin and shoot an okay percentage in the best European league at age 19, that’s not bad. But a lot needs to go right with your development for you to make it in the nba.

  39. Boy..this is a bad time for Thibs to be on the market huh? I’ve pined for him since he was the “hot” Celtic assistant…sigh…
    Fish, I believe is gonna end up a fine coach..hopefully soon. But part of me still wants Thibs to coach this team..even though he Pringleshly runs his top players into the ground. Maybe I’m just nostalgic for the JVG days, but Thibs has proven to be one helluva coach. Who knows where the Bulls would be right now if Rose never got hurt. They looked like they were on their way to a chip, right?

    Anyway..as far as the draft goes..I know nothing about the Zinger. Then again I knew nothing about Gallo, and he turned out to be a decent player (him goin bucket for bucket vs Melo was epic). But, this is the #4 pick, and top 5’s are supposed to be as close to sure things as you can get. And truthfully..if the triangle stays..the only “sure thing” I see for the Knicks is Kam at Center- which would require Phil to trade down. I think Okafor’s ceiling is not much higher than where he already is. Unless of course he can redefine his body and get more athletic. Towns is more of a jump shooting big who can defend and rebound..but he has a weak base so he may never develop into the big we NEED. Winslow looks more like a more athletic Bruce Bowen than a sidekick that can lessen Melo’s load. So..the team’s position is..tricky. Maybe Phil SHOULD trade down for a lower pick this yr and a 1st rounder in ’16. I’ve had so many scenarios run through my head. Now I think Phil should trade down to draft Kam and add a 1st rounder in 16, and be really aggressive pursuing Jordan and Carroll. We’ll just hafta stick with the guards we have until 16. I dunno yal..Phil’s in an unenviable position. Is 7 too high for Kam? A trade with Denver works. A trade with Boston may not work because Kam may not be there. So many questions..

  40. I envision Kam backing up at the 4/5 for his first few seasons in my scenario.

  41. Is the NBA really not starting the finals for over a week? I guess that’s good for the guys nursing injuries (and head wounds), but it kind of loses momentum for the fans– especially after a pretty dudish conference finals (and what doesn’t promise to be a very competitive finals matchup either). I mean, we could have the finals wrapped up completely by the 4th if they started this weekend.

  42. Good article. Good comments. I was worried that people would talk themselves into this cat @ 4. I freak out when international players are selected this high, usually. Dirk was a freak. Gallo is an NBA starter, but he can’t stay healthy and he’s a perimeter oriented player who’s prone to stretches of inactivity. And if this guy was Rik Smits lite, I would draft him in a second. Smits was a baller ( and Ewing shoulda banged it on his freakin head instead of trying that freaking finger roll and we win the freaking game!!! ) but suffered from, what? Bad feet? Poor big men.

  43. I saw this article today after reading this Chad Ford article and it makes sense to me. Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried for the #4 overall makes me happy. The salaries are a combined 2015/16: $23.6M, 2016/17: $25.3M. Then Lawson becomes a free agent but Faried is controled in 2017/18 and 2018/19 for $12.9M and $13.8M respectively. I hate doing business with the Nuggets after they fleeced the Knicks in the Melo trade but this would make sense to me and I would sign for it now.

  44. Great write up and great comments. Well played everyone.

    I honestly do not know a lot about Porzingis, but looking at his numbers (stats and physical) with the little scouting footage that is available, I am not convinced he should be looked at in the top 10. No doubt it looks like he has some skills and could improve, but I feel you need more of a sure thing (whatever that is) if you are drafting top 5-10. He is feather light at the moment to, and I think we need a bit of a banger in the post if we are looking to draft big. Could be a steal at 11-15 though. Maybe OKC look to take him if they were keen in 2014. For me, we should be sticking with someone in the consensus top 5.

  45. @54 Sure. I’d do that trade if I could immediately deal Lawson for a 1st rounder in 16 AND either a late 1st rounder or multiple 2nd rounders.

  46. Let me remind y’all that I think we should take the best developed player with an actual body of work from which to draw conclusions about his ability. (Probably WCS at #6 or #7.)

    http://cdn.solecollector.com/media/sneakers/images/tyson-chandler-hyperdunk-pe.jpg

    http://www.nbajerseys.org/jerseys/Minnesota%20Timberwolves/kevin%20garnett%2021%20blue%20rookie%20soul%20swingman%20jersey.jpg

    I’m not saying he’s going to be good. I’m just saying that weight, especially at age 19, is not nearly as important as all of the things we can quantify as applicable skills, like shooting, rebounding and possession stats. This kind of talk reminds me of the scene in Moneyball when all the scouts are talking about Jeremy Giambi needing to “add a little weight in the midsection.”

    It matters, sure, but if the dude can ball, it doesn’t matter whether he’s skinny like Garnett in ’96 or huge like Dwight Howard in ’09.

  47. @59…WCS as a soph was good enough to impact the game defensively, plus he was solid on the boards. Gadzuric was a large bum at UCLA. But you can’t teach size. Do you just doubt his potential/knowledge/athleticism?

  48. Let me remind y’all that I think we should take the best developed . . .body

    Glad we could agree.

    My main problem with Porzingis is that he doesn’t seem to be good at anything besides catch and shoot jumps shots and (maybe) shot blocking.

    Also, didn’t KG go to the NBA from HS?

  49. Man, Ian O’Connor dropped a pretty odd hit piece on Jackson today. I even agree with a lot of the criticisms in the article, but it just seems like a jerky thing to do to rip Jackson a new one when he hasn’t actually done anything recently. Even the dumb Twitter stuff was a week ago.

  50. If the 69-year-old Jackson wanted to debunk the notion that he effectively took a $60 million retirement job, and that he’s too arrogant and detached to compete with younger, hungrier and more flexible front-office foes, he did himself no favors by no-showing at a draft lottery held five blocks from his Manhattan apartment

    Amazingly, I’ve seen PJ criticized for this by a bunch of people despite it being objectively insane to think his presence would have any effect on the outcome of the lottery.

  51. FWIW, Kevin Pelton likes Porzingis with the 4th pick, mostly on account of his shooting and the higher level of competition he’s faced.

  52. Re: Thibs

    I think he might be the single most overrated coach in the league. I want no part of him. The guy is as foolishly stubborn as they come. One need only look at the Bulls closeout game against the Bucks. They were up by like 50 in the 4th, and he still had his starters in. That was the single dumbest thing I’ve ever seen a coach do. Not even Woody would have done that.

    He’s a media darling because people love to eat up that “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” attitude he has, but really, the guy is a terrible head coach and should never be in charge. As an assistant? Yeah, sign me up. But not the lead assistant that would take over when/if Fish gets fired.

    If he were coaching the Warriors, he would have told Klay Thompson to walk off his concussion and that the blood coming out of his ears was just weakness leaving the body and that it was a good thing.

  53. i wouldn’t exactly call thibs a terrible coach… he is the basketball version of dallas green(mets reference for any fans out there)… when you preach giving it your all the entire game no matter the score… to his credit.. he really means it… and he got results… his bulls overperformed just about every reg season with or without rose which is pretty amazing…

    of course that can work to your detriment…. a coach’s main responsibility is knowing their players… and if you treat them like they are replaceable.. well.. ur gonna have to keep replacing them…

  54. @61- on the videos I’ve seen, he’s doing a whole lot more than catching and shooting — like running the floor on a fast break, catching and dunking a lot of lobs, dunking over people on drives and put backs and faking jump shots and driving to the basket — and getting hip checked into the stands when he tries to box guys out. To me , he looks like he’s got a very well-rounded game.
    By the way, KG was 19 when he was drafted, just like Porzingas is now.

  55. when you preach giving it your all the entire game no matter the score… to his credit.. he really means it

    Yes he does, I’ll agree with you there. I don’t question his work ethic or integrity. The point at which I get off the train, though, is the part where “giving it your all” means sacrificing a potential championship in order to stay true to some arbitrary mantra.

    A good coach needs to inspire and motivate (which he does), but also think strategically (which he doesn’t). We often like to lump coaches into one of two camps: the “player’s coach” and the “strategic coach.” The best coaches (like Pop, for example) are able to exist comfortably in both camps. Thibs is a “player’s coach,” (albeit a rather brusque one), but he doesn’t have a strategic bone in his body.

    I’d bet dollars to donuts that were he the Knicks coach this season, he’d have been trying just as hard to win meaningless games in March and April as Fish was. What’s worse, he would have done it even had Jackson specifically told him not to (not that he did though). The man can’t think past the next play. In some cases, that’s an admirable attribute, but not something you want from the guy you pay to think strategically for an entire season and post-season.

    Thibs is all tactics, and no strategy. Which makes for a great assistant coach, but not a good head coach.

  56. @61- on the videos I’ve seen, he’s doing a whole lot more than catching and shooting — like running the floor on a fast break, catching and dunking a lot of lobs, dunking over people on drives and put backs and faking jump shots and driving to the basket — and getting hip checked into the stands when he tries to box guys out. To me , he looks like he’s got a very well-rounded game.

    An occasional highlight reel aside, he avoids contact, which is shown by his 2.2 free throws per 40.

  57. In this video, Zinger looks pretty strong for his weight. Beautiful looking shot, too.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnfpmCpa3PA

    I don’t really see much strength being shown off in the video. Some good fluidity, but not strength. Heck, notice the post moves in that video, they’re not even that great, and those are the moves they chose for his highlight reel. Notice there’s no fighting for rebounds or fighting for position in the post in the video – because he doesn’t do that, so there’s no highlights to be found of that (and I’m not even knocking him for it, he probably shouldn’t do that, he’d hurt himself). The shot is good, though, I certainly am not knocking the guy’s shot.

  58. So Wade could opt out and become a free agent. Wade to NY? Anyone?

    Why wait to sign him as a FA when we could give up our pick for him instead?

    Also, unless it’s on a very cheap deal (read:vet min), I’ll pass. No doubting his greatness, but I doubt his health.

  59. If he was even relatively cheap, I’d be fine with it, but I doubt he’s leaving Miami. I think this is just posturing. Who in the world would offer him even close to the money Miami will offer him? Unless, of course, Miami is suddenly playing hardball out of nowhere (I suspect that they’re just don’t want to give him his current $16 million over three years, which is likely what he’s asking for).

  60. And if you were going to leave miami, why would you go play for the fucking Knicks? They suck.

  61. I always considered Wade to be a one team guy. In the event that they can’t get negotiations done, does Wade retire? Is he looking for the cash to justify rocking up at training camp and beating himself up all season? Probably an unlikely scenario, but worth a thought I guess.

  62. I guess he can be pissed with the heat. he may want to showcase his skills and show the world that he is still healthy to play for one year. Then he can get more money next year.
    New York could be the best team he should consider for that dream scenario.
    Shit happens.

  63. Y’all sleepin. Kobe. Yup. That’s who we’re getting after next season. You heard it here first, suckas! Kobe. Kobe and Melo. 28 shots per game each. Real talk. Kobe and Phil, Kobe spending his final season in the mecca of hoops! Learn to love it.

  64. what are the chances philly would draft ok4 if he is on the board? I think its low, if the Lakers picked Russell what would Philly do?

    I say that to ask about the chances the knicks/Lakers do a swap with LA getting some more compensation. If the Lakers have ok4 as their guy why not do a deal with the Knicks to get some more assets if you know Philly wouldn’t pick him?

  65. Brian – you and I must be looking at different stats. According to draftexpress, Porzingas takes about 4.5 foul shots/40 (which is about what Dirk took his first two years in the league), not 2.2. He also blocks over two shots/40 and gets 8.5 rebounds/40 (which is about Dirk’s career average). I’m not saying that he’s a sure star, but he’s not just a tall jump shooter.

  66. I guess he can be pissed with the heat. he may want to showcase his skills and show the world that he is still healthy to play for one year.

    I guess he really doesn’t owe anything to Miami for what he’s achieved with them. However they need to be looking to hand the keys over so to speak. Or just throw heaps of cash at him. I don’t care. It’s Miami.

  67. Brian – you and I must be looking at different stats. According to draftexpress, Porzingas takes about 4.5 foul shots/40 (which is about what Dirk took his first two years in the league), not 2.2. He also blocks over two shots/40 and gets 8.5 rebounds/40 (which is about Dirk’s career average). I’m not saying that he’s a sure star, but he’s not just a tall jump shooter.

    It’s his career FT/40. His most recent season he was 4.5/40. He pretty much took no free throw the previous season. So yes, at least he’s improving there. He’s still not nearly the player Dirk was at the same age (Dirk was a good 20 pounds heavier).

  68. He’s still not nearly the player Dirk was at the same age

    Huh? He’s better. At age 20, Dirk 3FG%=20%, 2FG%=45%, WS/48 of .040. Regarding Pau/Zinger comparisons, keep in mind that Euro League competitiveness and quality has increased as the sport’s popularity has grown over the last 15 years. Adjusting for that, his stats look good compared to Pau.

    I don’t care if a seven footer is pretty good at knocking down 20 foot jumpers

    Well you should… because that’s a key reason why Dirk’s had the career he’s had and why Durant is so good. Unlike Mudiay, Zingers got a very pure shooting motion. He’s able to spot up and has shown an ability to shoot off the dribble and screens. He lets the ball go fast and from a position making it almost impossible to block or even really disrupt. His shooting improved from prior season.

    I want my seven footer to …. play strong interior defense.

    What you look for in today’s NBA from a 4 is a (1) strong PnR defender, (2) strong help defender (3) rim protection. Zinger’s got at least two of those. Everything I’ve read suggest he rates to be a very good PnR defender (dude moves looks like Kirilenko) and so far he’s been an able weak-side shot blocker similar to Amare.

    This guy looks 100% exactly like Bargnani 2.0 to me.

    Not really. The key difference is that he’s far more mobile/athletic than Bargs. On offense, he’s able to both pop AND dive on the PnR – how many 4s are able to do that in the NBA? He’s able to shoot off motion better than Bargs. On defense, he’s already a better Pnr defender, help defender, and shot blocker than Bargs.

  69. Not nearly the player Dirk was in that they are not similar to each other besides both being tall European guys who can shoot from the outside. Dirk was a good 20 pounds heavier when he was 19 than Porzingis is at 20. At the 1998 Nike Hoops Summit, Dirk was the MVP while taking 22 free throws and only 3 threes! That was the game that got Dirk drafted in the lottery. Playing against future NBA talent (Rashard Lewis and Al Buckets were the two most notable guys), Dirk didn’t just dominate, he dominated in the paint. 22 free throws! That’s what made Dirk a top prospect, he made it clear that he could compete in the NBA. Dirk then and Zinger now are completely different types of players.

  70. Not nearly the player Dirk was in that they are not similar to each other besides both being tall European guys who can shoot from the outside. Dirk was a good 20 pounds heavier when he was 19 than Porzingis is at 20. At the 1998 Nike Hoops Summit, Dirk was the MVP while taking 22 free throws and only 3 threes! That was the game that got Dirk drafted in the lottery. Playing against future NBA talent (Rashard Lewis and Al Buckets were the two most notable guys), Dirk didn’t just dominate, he dominated in the paint. 22 free throws! That’s what made Dirk a top prospect, he made it clear that he could compete in the NBA. Dirk then and Zinger now are completely different types of players.

    I’m not sure he was 20 lbs heavier but here is the highlights to that game

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCMSe1Injiw

  71. Dirk looks pretty scrawny in those highlights. In that game he was playing against a bunch of 18 year olds. You can’t compare numbers from a kids’ all-star game to numbers in a men’s’ league.

  72. The Nike Hoops Summit is a key arena for prospects to show off. Last year, Okafor, Mudiay and Winslow were key players in it. Harrington and Lewis were both drafted just two months following the game. That’s direct competition against other top draft picks and Nowitzki dominated them (presumably why he was a lottery pick and they were not, although obviously both of them should have been lottery picks – Lewis’ fall during the 1998 Draft was inexplicable then and remains so). Nowitzki played in a shitty German league due to loyalty to Germany, so this was one of the first places where people could see how Dirk looked against real players. And he kicked their asses, doing the exact opposite style of play that Porzingis plays.

  73. Dirk looks much more fluid with the ball than Zinger, more like a classic combo 4 with a 3’s ball skills who can dominate with or without the ball. Zinger looks like a 5 with no ball skills, whose buckets would almost always be assisted unless he puts on weight and develops post moves. What I like about Porzingis is his finishing ability on lobs. He looks Chandler-esque in a lot of the highlight videos in that he catches and finishes well on the move from all angles. He reminds me of this guy. oh wait…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zlB5w08_Es

    Seriously, he will never be Dirk, but so what? I really don’t get Brian’s obsession with his weight at age 19. I’m pretty sure he can put on 20 lbs of muscle between now and November in a regimented training program. Are the odds better that Okafor going to get faster, quicker and jump higher, or shoot FTs better?

    he’s very risky at #4, but I’d be happy with a trade down to get him at #6-10. I’m starting to get the feeling that Okafor is going to drop to us.

  74. I didn’t bring up Dirk. But yes, nothing like Dirk.

    As to the weight stuff, you said it yourself, “Zinger looks like a 5 with no ball skills, whose buckets would almost always be assisted unless he puts on weight and develops post moves.” He took himself out of the draft to gain weight for that very reason and then didn’t. If he had gained weight, he’d have been the #1 pick in this draft (maaaaybe #2 behind Towns). That he didn’t gain weight has to send up some big red flags, no?

  75. If the 69-year-old Jackson wanted to debunk the notion that he effectively took a $60 million retirement job, and that he’s too arrogant and detached to compete with younger, hungrier and more flexible front-office foes, he did himself no favors by no-showing at a draft lottery held five blocks from his Manhattan apartment

    Amazingly, I’ve seen PJ criticized for this by a bunch of people despite it being objectively insane to think his presence would have any effect on the outcome of the lottery.

    Of all the crap Isola puts out there I actually agree with the criticism — obviously it makes no difference from a ping pong ball perspective, but as a fan, I’d like to see the guy that’s supposed to be the savior of the organization, the guy who has deep ties to the championship history of the NYK, the guy who presided over the worst season in franchise history, to go and OWN this situation. Show up there, show that you’re not too good to get down in the dirt of the lottery. I completely agree with Isola. Riley’s been to the lottery, Larry Bird was there, etc. etc. This is his team. he’s the face of the franchise at this point. He should’ve been there.

    Imagine a company that was once great and then got dragged through the dirt. wouldn’t you want leadership to be front and center in bringing it back to glory? to send Mills, the dictionary definition of a crony — that was an insult. again — it made no difference in the outcome, but it just feels and looks bad.

  76. I don’t get the Cauley-Stein advocates at No. 4. Yes, I realize he is a great defender and rim protector but his absolute ceiling is Tyson Chandler. As a 4-year guy at Kentucky, his offensive skill set is pretty much realized. His only offensive skill is vertical spacing as a roll guy and last time I looked, the Knicks were last or close to last in the league in running P’N’R action. And why the hell would Phil trade Chandler for close to nothing only to replace him with Cauley-Stein a year later. Doesn’t make any sense to me.

  77. I don’t get the Cauley-Stein advocates at No. 4. Yes, I realize he is a great defender and rim protector but his absolute ceiling is Tyson Chandler. As a 4-year guy at Kentucky, his offensive skill set is pretty much realized.

    First of all he’s not a 4 year guy – he’s a junior.
    Second – if you told me we could draft Tyson Chandler now at 21 years old and pay him $3MM/year (or whatever the salary slot is for pick 4) I’d take that in a heartbeat.

    In today’s NBA when the PNR is king, you need bigs that can guard the perimeter AND protect the rim. There probably hasn’t been as impressive a big from that perspective as WCS in years. I think his floor is probably John Henson (who’s really good, just not amazing) but he could be a generationally talented defensive player. Offensively there probably hasn’t been a big as good in transition as him since I don’t even know who, and since he will end up guarding guards at times, he probably will get more chances in transition than someone who’s under the rim all the time on defense. He’s a good offensive rebounder. He can tyson-smash with the best of them. And he’s improved his FT% from a ridiculously terrible 37% as a freshman to 62% as a junior – that shows he can improve his shooting. Maybe one day he’ll be an acceptable shooter out to 15 feet.

    I say it all the time but I’d be happy with WCS at #4. Maybe it’s a reach, maybe not a great value pick, but I think it’s really really unlikely he ends up being anything less than a solid contributor, and clearly shores up our biggest weakness. Maybe we could trade down a few picks, get another pick in return, and still pick him. I’d be great with that.

  78. I say it all the time but I’d be happy with WCS at #4. Maybe it’s a reach, maybe not a great value pick, but I think it’s really really unlikely he ends up being anything less than a solid contributor, and clearly shores up our biggest weakness. Maybe we could trade down a few picks, get another pick in return, and still pick him. I’d be great with that.

    I’m cool with a few different guys in that scenario (Winslow, Turner, Hezonja), but yes, WCS is definitely one of them.

  79. to send Mills, the dictionary definition of a crony — that was an insult.

    And it’s not like Mills went there and nothing happened. Mills actually revealed the front office’s plan to tamper this June.

    Phil wouldn’t do that, because he only communicates via tweet nowadays. It’s hard to prove tampering when the evidence is this:

    Phil Jackson
    @PhilJackson11

    Because you askink Knocks gonna draft based on witch FA accept spot case of cashk
    7:32 PM – 19 May 2015

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