On Jimmy Fallon a huge 7”3 man emerged and was met with a rousing reception. New York was his adopted new home and Jimmy Fallon looked star struck. Wo was this bizarre new guest and why did they love him. It was Kristaps Porzingis the new star player for the NBA’s New York Knicks. The underachieving side was latching on to the young giant for the future and when you learn more about him it is easy to see why.
Where is he from?
Porzingis is a basketball player from Latvia. This may sound slightly random but the Baltic countries are known for their love of the game, especially Lithuania. He was born in Lipeja to tall parents by any standard. His mother is 6”1 and father 6”7. Basketball was always a part of his family and his older brother was a professional player in Europe.
Seeing his potential and height Kristaps took to the sport like a massive duck to water. He excelled in local ame before moving to Spain when he was 15. There he played in Seville with Cajasol Seville from 2012 – 2015. While in Seville he won EuroCups Rising Star award and was in the Young All-Star teams. This drew attention from the NBA. This was tumultuous because he entered the 2014 draft and looked like he was going to be picked but instead pulled out at the last minute. It was the 2015 draft which he was selected fourth overall by the Knicks.
What is his style of play like?
Kristaps Porzingis is an anomaly in the game. His style of play is barely comparable to anyone because there has been so few of them. Kevin Durant famously called him the Unicorn as he was so unique. So, what makes him so?
At 7”3 he is one of the tallest players in the league and as such you would expect him to be a defensive-minded centre. Instead, Porzingis is gifted with the ability to shoot. Thanks to his height he is rarely troubled by defensive blocks. This shooting means he can score from anywhere on the court too, whether it is a 3 point of hook shot from the key he is a multiple threat virtually un-defendable.
Thanks to his height he is also a dominant force defensively and with the Knicks he has grown a custom to the cheers from his blocks getting just as much as his dunks or shots. His ability to get back on defensive duties at speed is also vital when becoming an all round player and so he has the incredible fitness to work both sides of the court effectively. Especially when you consider Porzingis struggled with anaemia at a young age.
The key to his success is his manoeuvrability for someone so big. Even his closest comparison in Dirk Nowitzki was blessed with Porzingis speed, reactions and flexibility. Porzingis is a unique sight on the caught and there is only a player every generation with his unique abilities both naturally and nurtured.
What can we expect from him?
He is still only in his sophomore year in the NBA and it is way too early to tell. He has already made better work in his first few years than the likes of Bargnani and Tristan Thompson. There have been many big men signed for their height high up the draft but went on to nothing. Porzingis has already bettered this but with a wounded Knicks side he has the opportunity to take it over and make it hi side. As long as he stays injury free he has the potential to match Nowitzki incredible scoring feats but not many have the hunger or longevity of the German.
Of course, in America everyone is judged on rings and it will be tough for Porzingis to carry Knicks all the way there. I see New York as a stepping stone to a bigger team, perhaps a Lakers where the winning mentality is in its history and he will truly realise his immense potential. Keep your eye on the Unicorn. We like to keep our finger on American sport so make sure you keep up with our betting tips too.