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Kristaps Porzingis Being Drafted By The New York Knicks Is Not A Bad Thing

Many experts project Kristaps Porzingis to be a project.




On Thursday night, the New York Knicks made one of the more highly talked selections in recent history during the 2015 NBA Draft. While many had the Knicks picking Emmanuel Mudiay with the fourth pick, Phil Jackson decided to go in another direction and instead selected power forward Kristaps Porzingis with the pick that the Knicks thought would be higher.

Reaction was immediately negative as the name Porzingis was the one that no one wanted Jackson to pick leading up to the draft. The fact that Porzingis is a “project” player scared many. In New York, the word “project” is almost like saying the “F-word” in public. And of course on cue, sources reported that Carmelo Anthony was not fond of the pick and listening to sports radio, it seems that pick of Kristaps Porzingis may have activated the National Guard and Madison Square Garden may be under attack.

I was one of the many that was initially disgusted with the pick with names like Willie Cauley-Stein and Mudiay still on the board. I even wrote about how the Knicks should pick up Mudiay a couple of weeks ago so my mind was made up. After sleeping on the pick overnight and waking up with a clear mind (and away from other people), I think the pick is a risk but one that needed to be made.

The Knicks have holes all throughout the team from top to bottom. With the drafting Porzingis, you fill a hole with a player that can help stretch the floor and open up the middle for Anthony and the other player the Knicks picked up point guard Jerian Grant from Notre Dame. In the same mold of Dirk Nowitzki, Porzingis can shoot the ball, pass but unlike Nowitzki, has a bit of an inside game which gives the Knicks flexibility in playing him at power forward or center once he bulks up a bit.

With almost $30 million in cap space, Jackson will make sure to spend the money available to him to take some pressure off of Porzingis early. Reports have power forward David West opting out of his contract with the Indiana Pacers and signing with New York. Many also believe that Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe coming to the Knicks is a done deal which gives New York two big bruising bodies in the paint that plays defense which Porzingis struggles with. That leaves Porzingis able to play his natural position and not get mauled inside right away.

The pick also gives the Knicks a player they could develop from the ground floor. The Triangle Offense is somewhat complex (according to J.R. Smith, which I take with a grain of salt) so this gives Jackson and Derek Fisher a player who they could teach the way they want him to play and someone they could depend on not to go rogue and try and play outside of the offense. Prozingis in the Triangle Offense could be what Horace Grant meant to the Chicago Bulls during the Bulls’ championship runs in the 90’s.

I know it seems as if all is lost with the selection of Kristaps Porzingis by the Knicks on Thursday night. I choose to see the glass half full instead of half empty and I see this pick for what it is…a future pick. It’s a pick that may not have immediately implications today but instead, implications next season and the season after. So let us Knick fans not look at this selection as a bad thing. Let’s hope he’s more Pau Gasol and less Yi Jianlian.

Let the prayer commence.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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