The New York Knicks are building the future of the organization around power forward Kristaps Porzingis. He was drafted No. 4 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft and has justified the hype at every step of the way thus far.
On Saturday, Feb. 18, Porzingis solidified his status as the face of the modern big man by winning the 2017 NBA Skills Challenge.
The Skills Challenge is hardly a career-defining event. In the case of Porzingis, however, it was a fair indication of what he stands for in the new NBA: change and, depending on whose perspective you’re gauging, progress.
According to Al Iannazzone of Newsday, Porzingis is thrilled to be facilitating the movement of the modern big man.
“It’s a good feeling that I’m able to showcase my skill with my size and show to the kids that you’re capable of doing that even if you’re tall and lanky like me,” Porzingis said. “I think a lot of kids now growing up will improve those perimeter skills just seeing guys like — I don’t want to mention myself — but big guys with perimeter skills that can do it.”
Whether or not he wants to mention himself, Porzingis is one of the most dynamic talents in NBA history.
Porzingis may be reluctant to embrace the title, but he and Karl-Anthony Towns have earned their place as the faces of this movement. Others can be mentioned in that regard, but Porzingis and Towns are the upside players whom many deem as representative of the future.
Not only are Towns and Porzingis skilled offensive players, but they’ve both shown flashes of being potential Defensive Player of the Year award winners.
That level of versatility borders on being unprecedented.
As Porzingis displayed in the Skills Challenge, he’s more than just a 7’3″ power forward with athleticism; he’s coordinated. He can shoot the 3-ball as well as most guards and is a capable post player, dominant shot-blocker, and capable dribble-penetrator.
In addition to being the tallest player to win the Skills Challenge, Porzingis is one of two players who has recorded at least 800 points, 300 rebounds, 90 blocks, and 90 3-point field goals in 2016-17.
The only other player who has amassed those numbers by the All-Star Break is Kevin Durant.
by Maxwell Ogden (dailyknicks.com)