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Deeper Dive: Porzingis and Grant Can Be Absolutely Lethal for the Knicks

by Photo of Tommy Dee

The Knicks hope their Dynamic Duo can grow up on the big stage quickly.

Deeper Dive: Porzingis and Grant Can Be Absolutely Lethal for the Knicks

After what resulted into statistically the worst season in Knicks history, the team headed into year two of their rebuild looking to add young, two-way players with what they had available to them. Before the free agency period Phil Jackson and his scouting team, which includes Clarence Gaines, decided they needed to pursue a big man in one of the biggest drafts in history. I’ve been told that they wanted to leave the draft with a pick-and-roll combination to help support Carmelo Anthony for years to come as they continued to build the hybrid, 2.0 version of Jackson’s famed Triangle offense.

Sitting at #4 with the consensus two best bigs in Karl Towns and Jahlil Okafor off the board, as well as the consensus best point guard in D’Angelo Russell also gone, Jackson went with relative unknown Latvian big Kristaps Porzingis. 

He explained the decision here. 

As the night rolled on he targeted his point guard by dealing Tim Hardaway Jr. for the rights to Jerian Grant solidifying the pick-and-roll need and injecting big time youth and skill at key positions.

Having watched Porzingis several things come to mind. There the obvious negatives being his slight base and slow lateral quickness. But his upside is off the charts and he has terrific skills and offensive feel that could make him a standout in this league for a long time. His ability to read screens and find shooting space allows for him to be an immediate pick/pop threat in the triangle offense. This highlight from last night’s exhibition game against Paschoalotto/Bauru (Brazil) we saw a glimpse of what could be an incredible and unguardable duo for years to come at MSG. 

The key to this, and a skill they don't get from Jose Calderon, is Grant's ability to put pressure on the hedge defender off the drive. That allows Porzingis to step back and find space.

Love the immediate recognition.

What stands out to me is that Porzingis has a high release that reminds me of the shooting form that Kevin Garnett added as he got older. Porzingis is just 20, imagine what his upside is once he learns how to play with the additional weight and develops? Also, what you love most about Grant is that he's found a way to get Porzingis touches where he can make them. We saw that in Summer League in Vegas as well. As soon as he can develop that chemistry with Carmelo Anthony and Arron Afflalo, you figure he'll find his way into the starting line up.

Speaking of the starters, I don't expect it taking very long for Porzingis can learn pinch post and to make these attempts regularly off the pop. This can also set up shot fake, one dribble moves or attacks to the hoop.

The Knicks are in an interesting position. They are trying to build a competitive roster AND develop youth quickly. In order to do so you need young players who are familar with the pro game and they did both by drafting Grant out of Notre Dame, as well as Porzingis. This should help their learning curve in the NBA. If both can develop quickly, especially Grant as an orchestrator, expect the Knicks to surprise the NBA sooner before later. Either way it appears there is a dynamic young pick-and-roll duo on stage at the World's Most Famous Arena.


Comments (1)
  1. Mike Dimao 's profile

    Mike Dimao

    October 8th, 2015 @23:39

    "After what resulted into statistically the worst season in Knicks history, the team headed into year two of their rebuild looking to add young, two-way players with what they had available to them. " That's the shittiest lede I've ever read. JFC, who edited this?

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