The New York Knicks opened their 2015 Summer League campaign by defeating the San Antonio Spurs by five points, the final score being 78-73. This, of course, was our first taste of the Knicks’ fourth overall pick, Kristaps Porzingis.
The Latvian sharpshooting big man finished with 12 points on 3/5 shooting from the field and 6/7 from the free throw line along with 3 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and 1 turnover in 18 minutes of action.
Porzingis made it clear on draft night that he isn’t your stereotypically soft European player and he showed us that this afternoon. He drew plenty of contact resulting in him getting to the foul line. Once at the line, Porzingis displayed good mechanics and a fluid technique. He had the soft touch from the charity stripe nailing six of his seven attempts.
It was clear from the outset that Porzingis is confident in his abilities and knows his limitations. He played within himself and didn’t over complicate things. Porzingis was always upbeat, having fun and enjoying himself. This was reflected in how much he hustled, especially down the stretch.
It seems that Porzingis picked up the complicated triangle offense rather quickly. There weren’t really any moments where he hesitated or stopped and looked around. Porzingis always knew where to go and where he was supposed to be. In doing so, Porzingis was setting good screens allowing guards to penetrate.
Although he didn’t record an assist, Porzingis made some terrific passes back door to cutters. It looked like he and Jerian Grant already have good chemistry.
It’s evident that he needs to work on boxing out after shots go up. Porzingis tended to ball watch and not find his man. With time it should improve. This also ties in with his awareness, Porzingis didn’t look to body up his man but just waited for the shot to miss and hoped that the ball would bounce his way.
He set good screens offensively but Porzingis failed to roll to the basket hard. You’d ideally want to be ahead of your guard when rolling but Porzingis found himself trailing a majority of the time.
Defensively his stance wasn’t great, Porzingis was standing straight up most of the time and didn’t seem to be on his toes. He was caught flat-footed occasionally. Porzingis was sometimes blown by and then just outmuscled underneath the basket. His defensive stance needs a lot of work.
As you would have been able to see, Porzingis is a stick figure and it was clear as day that hitting the weight room hard between now and trains camp is a must. Porzingis attempted to post a few times but was pushed off his spot with relative ease. He attempted to drive to the basket and to body up an opponent but literally bounced right back off.
Porzingis played eighteen minutes in total and played in four minute spurts. Despite this, he was huffing and puffing all game long. It shows that he must develop his stamina and become an endurance athlete like all other 19-year-olds in the NBA.