Two Knicks fans have a rational, reasoned debate about how good Kristaps Porzingis is and can be.
Seth: I'm conditioned not to get too excited about stuff like this, but I think Kristaps Porzingis must be the best young Knick since Patrick Ewing. Mark Jackson was Rookie of the Year, but he was an older, more established player. And the Knicks have had some okay lottery picks and late-draft steals since then, but nobody like Kristaps. And I don't really know what to do right now.
Rodger: KRISTAPS PORZINGIS DUNKS LITERALLY EVERY BASKETBALL HE SEES.
Seth: Porzingis has a long way to go, of course. He's a jump shooter who doesn't yet hit jump shots consistently, which I think is a function of conditioning and just getting comfortable on an NBA court with his current teammates. Or, maybe he just won't be lights-out from range, who knows? And while Kristaps unveils a new move or two each night, he's just as likely to mishandle the ball or rush an attempt in traffic. Acceptable rookie stuff, but definitely stuff that needs sharpening.
Rodger: I WAS NOT EXAGGERATING. THE GOD-MAN CANNOT BE PREVENTED FROM THUNDEROUS TIP-SLAMS. HE WILL RIP YOUR HEAD OFF AND TIP-SLAM IT INTO THE GAPING HOLE IN YOUR NECK CAVITY IF YOU SPEAK ILL OF HIM.
Seth: He's also pretty foul-prone, leading the league in total fouls right now. However, I am impressed with his foot speed on defense, and he's more than tall enough to stonewall dudes at the rim. There are still some bad rotations and he bites on fakes way too often for a guy of his size, but he's more active and way more disciplined on that end than anyone expected.
RODGER: HE DUNKS AND HE SWATS AND HE DRILLS THREES AND HE'S MOBILE FOR A 7'2 GUY AND HE CAN DO LITERALLY EVERYTHING ON A BASKETBALL COURT BETTER THAN ANYBODY HAS EVER DONE IT.
Seth: And Porzingis is rebounding, too. My biggest worry, based on both his build and his Summer League play, was that he'd be tough to keep on the court against opponents who bullied him around the glass. He does get displaced sometimes, and his hands aren't great yet, but he pursues pretty much every offensive rebound (third-best in the league!), and he actually gets low and boxes out sometimes on defense. That's encouraging when you consider how much strength he still has to add to his lower body.
RODGER: HE WAS THE ONLY KID IN LATVIA WITH CORNROWS.
DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH SWAG A TINY LATVIAN CHILD NEEDS TO POSSESS TO GROW CORNROWS?!
Seth: Kristaps has not only looked promising, he's actually helped quite a bit. You usually suffer through a rookie's ineffective play just to get him the reps, but Porzingis has legitimately been one of New York's best players to start the season. Win shares, net rating ... any stat you want favors his presence. It was reasonable to worry that he might not be totally NBA-ready, but the Knicks usually suffer without Porzingis on the floor. You can tell just by watching. They don't allow as many offensive rebounds and the defensive front is less fearsome without Kristaps loping around.
Rodger: GOOGLE KNOWS. KRISTAPS PORZINGIS IS LITERALLY RIHANNA.
Seth: The kid seems confident, too, and already at home in New York. His teammates and coaches have all remarked on his English proficiency, which must help a lot. And he just seems to have a level head in what could be extremely overwhelming surroundings. I'm always nervous about 20-year-olds plopped into Manhattan with millions of dollars, but I think he can handle himself. He's dealing with the excess of both positive and critical attention with aplomb. Like, as well as any Knick I've ever seen.
Rodger: HE SHOOTS FIRE OUT OF HIS HANDS. THIS IS A REAL, UNPHOTOSHOPPED PHOTO.
Seth: So, yeah, I don't really know how to handle a good thing, being a Knicks fan under the age of 30. Everything I've ever loved has been ruined. But man, even with a long way to go, I can't help but think the Knicks found a gem.
Rodger: KRISTAPS PORZINGIS IS THE GREATEST HUMAN EVER TO LIVE. HE WILL LEAD THE KNICKS TO 13 CONSECUTIVE NBA CHAMPIONSHIPS.
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