As reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post, Kristaps Porzingis will reign over the power forward spot for the New York Knicks.
While many would expect the number four pick in the draft to be a starter, this decision is still head-scratching to say the least. Phil Jackson has said many things about Porzingis and none of them seemed to be reassuring. He has said that Porzingis could turn out to be Shawn Bradley, which doesn’t bode well if that’s a near accurate prediction. In defense of Porzingis, he took this comment as added fuel to put on more weight and to try to make sure he doesn’t turn out that way.
The confusing part is that Jackson keeps flip-flopping on his thoughts about Porzingis. He says he might be Bradley, then he’s impressed with his work ethic, and then he says they hope he can play 20 minutes per game this season. If you’re fourth overall pick can’t play at least 20 minutes a game, then there should be a lot to worry about. Putting on weight is a great sign for Porzingis, but the NBA is the most physical league in the world and he still has a very slender build. He can keep putting on weight, but when will it be enough to allow him to not get pushed around by guys like Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, and DeMarcus Cousins?
The Knicks have a couple guys who could be in the starting spot over Porzingis, and Kyle O’Quinn seems like the better choice as the starter. He is another stretch four kind of player, but he has what it takes to bang down low on the block. The Knicks have a lot to figure out with their frontcourt. The only proven asset that they have right now is Robin Lopez, and he’s no offensive juggernaut. Porzingis is trying to silence his doubters by gaining weight and getting stronger, but he’s going to have to do a lot more throughout the season if he wants to silence them for good.