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Boos Somewhat Appropriate as Knicks Take Porzingis



New York Knicks fans have been through a lot in the past year.

They endured a miserable 17-65 season and witnessed some of the most repulsive play ever on a professional basketball court. They stood idly by as superstar Carmelo Anthony prioritized playing in the All-Star Game over surgery. They watched with jealously as former ‘Bocker after ‘Bocker excelled in the playoffs. They laughed with embarrassment every time president Phil Jackson took to Twitter. And, of course, they screamed and cursed in anger, confusion and frustration when they team could not even lose properly in the season’s closing days.

All of that misery – all the wrong moves, the losing, the bad trades and downright stupid remarks – was what led up to Thursday’s NBA Draft.

With the clock running down at the Barclay’s Center and the No. 4 overall pick in their hands, the Knicks selected Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis. The Brooklyn arena, packed with members of the Knicks’ faithful, erupted… in disapproval.

Fans swore, yelled, cried and booed, just as they had all season. Rarely do European-born players work out in the NBA and rarely do any chances the Knicks take. With that in mind, those in attendance at the draft let Porzingis and the team hear it.

It was a somewhat unfair reaction.

Porzingis could very well become a star in the NBA. The 19-year-old has tremendous talent and an ultra-confident mindset that makes him mentally capable of handling the pressure that comes with playing in New York. The boos at the draft did not even bother him.

“I mean, a lot of fans weren’t happy that they drafted me, but I have to do everything that’s in my hands to turn those booing fans into clapping fans,” Porzingis told the press. “There’s nothing I can do. I was happy about it. I want to be a part of this organization and I know the fans are a little harsh sometimes, but that’s how it is here in New York and I’m ready for it.”

The kid is certainly poised, if nothing else.

A seven-footer, the stretch forward has the ability to play both inside and out. He can knock down shots from three and can block them in the paint. He has been playing with grown men over in Spain, perhaps the world’s strongest league outside The Association, so the competition has been formidable. All of that and he actually wants to be in New York.

Imagine that!

So, with an abundance of skill sets, a winning attitude and possibly the most upside in the draft, why were fans so down on the one they call “The Zinger?”

The answer is that word – upside – is not necessarily something the Knicks have time for. Porzingis may be able to make an immediate impact, but it will likely take some time before he develops into the player Jackson believes he can be.

At 210 pounds Porzingis will have to add to his slender frame if he plans on roughing it up with other big men in the NBA. His defense will need some work too and the Knicks will want him to become a consistent presence on the boards. To sum it all up, the problem so many have with this pick is that Porzingis is not close to a finished product.

Fans are fearful that that could become a major issue considering Anthony is not getting any younger and this city has grown tired waiting on a winner.

Of course, Porzingis alone was never going to transform a 17-win team into a playoff contender. New York needs to kill it in free agency if they planning on getting above .500, let alone the postseason.

With that in mind, Knicks fans need to cut the kid some slack and see what happens. That is a lot to ask of a fan base that has gone through so much adversity, but at this point they do not have any other choice.

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