The New York Knicks have their franchise player waiting in the wings. Carmelo Anthony is the king of the Garden but it won’t be too long before the torch is passed to Kristaps Porzingis.
Fans are already giving him the keys to the city but he’s done nothing remotely out of this world yet to earn that distinction.
Give him time and he will.
As an old school fan, I never thought we would see another player with a similar skill set to Larry Bird. But along came Dirk Nowitzki and just like that we were taken on a ride. Nowitzki and Bird are rare breeds. Bird, was a stretch 4 long before that moniker ever became popular.[embedit snippet=”2″]
Before then, PFs were low post threat that stayed in the lane, caught the ball, pivot, turned and dunk. But Bird changed that with his range. Dirk is the same way. And now, so is Porzingis.
Have you seen Porzingis put the ball on the floor like a guard and get to the rim? Hit a three like it was a free throw? The main area where Porzingis will outshine Bird and Dirk is on the defensive end of the court.
Porzingis is 7-3 and uses his size and athleticism to not only crash the boards to the tune of a 8 per game but he also has the intellect to get 2 blocks per as well. This is the one area where Dirk lacked those physical gifts that K.P. has. As good as Dirk was on the perimeter, he was also slow-footed when it came to defending a player or getting in proper rebounding position.
K.P. is only in his second year and still, has ways to go before we can put the final debate in on who’s better. But from early results, you can see a huge difference in their approach to the game. For years, Dirk has ben labeled as soft, a perimeter player that does not like to bang inside. K.P. is the exact opposite. He loves that contact and looks for it when he can. He’s one of those rare frontcourt players that can put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim with such force that defenders rather move out his way than attempt to block his shot.
His perimeter game may not be as lethal as Bird’s or Nowitzki’s at the moment but give him time. It’s hard for him to fully take over when he has to play second-fiddle to the current face of the team. When the Knicks are his and his alone, then we will see what Porzingis can really do.
Dirk is a Fall of Fame player, but he paid his dues to get there. K.P., however, has not had his chance to earn his stripes yet. Dirk has led, KP has only followed. Dirk has a signature move, K.P. is pure athleticism. Dirk shoots 47%, K.P. 43%. Dirk has been to 12 All-Star games, KP, none.
It’s not fair to compare the two just now, but by the end of his career, Porzingis will have passed Dirk as a scorer and better player.