The New York Knick struck gold in the 2015 NBA Draft with selection of Kristaps Porzingis, and team president Phil Jackson continues to admire his work.
Initially, the Zen Master wasn’t sure what to expect from the rookie big guy, but Young Taps has put all doubts to rest through the first 19 games of his career.
Jackson says there’s something “magical” about Porzingis.
Per the NY Daily News (via Sirius XM NBA Radio):
“There’s the magical element to this young man that has caught the admiration, I think, of the fan base here in New York City and people around the country that do follow the Knicks,” Jackson said on Wednesday. “In seeing this guy he’s got the right temperament, the right attitude, carries himself well.”
The comments were the first public remarks from Jackson since the start of training camp, when Porzingis was considered much more of a risky project than an impact rookie. Jackson, who also spoke about Kobe Bryant’s retirement, is specifically impressed with two aspects of the 20-year-old Latvian: his durability and temperament. […] The original plan called for Porzingis to play around 20 minutes per game, but, heading into Wednesday night’s game against the lowly 76ers, he was averaging 28 minutes — including 35 over the previous five games — along with 13.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.
“The coaching staff thought that they’d have to really monitor his minutes. I think we felt strength-wise that it was going to be an issue to play longer than half a game, 24 minutes a game,” Jackson said. “And that part, we’ve been pleasantly surprised that he has the stamina and the strength, the athleticism to play a duration of time in the game. He’s put in 34-35 minutes in a ballgame where he can stay out of foul trouble and has been very effective on the court. In seeing this guy he’s got the right temperament, the right attitude, carries himself well,” Jackson added. “He’s still not getting the calls, he’s still getting some calls, doesn’t seem to have that issue with referees or protest or get upset. He seems to have a very calm, balanced nature about his game. You know, it’s a learning process. I see growth almost from game to game and that’s really the ticket you look at as you watch a young player.”