In the latest edition of “The Phil Files,” a series running on ESPN.com this summer that gives an insider’s look at Phil Jackson’s thoughts on what the Knicks are up to, Jackson speaks on No. 4 overall draft pick Kristaps Porzingis.
Jackson showers KP with praise, saying that after he watched game tape from Porzingis’ time in the Spanish League, he decided he had to have him on the Knicks.
Interestingly, though, Jackson also noted that if there’s any criticism he could understand about the 7-footer, it’s that he might in fact be “too tall”—even going so far as to mention his name alongside longtime NBA center Shawn Bradley, who while he was a great player, struggled with his coordination at times. (And was posterized over and over again.)
From ESPN.com‘s Charley Rosen:
Jackson projects that Porzingis will add at least 10 pounds of muscle before his first season commences, yet concerns still linger over his prize draft pick. “Like Shawn Bradley, who was nevertheless a pretty good player, KP might almost be too tall for the game. What I mean is that his core strength might never be good enough, and that he might not be able to get low enough to get himself into prime defensive position to body power rebounders or drivers.”
So, then, what does Jackson foresee in Porzingis’ rookie season?
“It’s entirely up to [coach Derek Fisher], but it would be great if KP could get as much as 20 minutes a game early in the season, plus maybe a few more later when he’s acclimated to the NBA game. It also has to be determined whether he’ll be more comfortable at power forward or center.”
Overall, Jackson feels that Porzingis will inevitably evolve into a star-quality player. But he feels that Jerian Grant, the 22-year-old point guard whom the Knicks obtained via a draft-day trade with the Atlanta Hawks for Tim Hardaway Jr., is more NBA-ready.