Kristaps Porzingis – Is he a franchise player?

il Jackson and the New York Knickerbockers have been in the news because Jackson has identified Carmelo Anthony has the problem with the struggling franchise, and wants to give Anthony away, so he can build around Porzingis.  New York is called the ‘Mecca of Basketball’, so it’s understandable why historically their teams have been overrated.  There is no dispute that Porzingis is a good player, and that he has potential, but is he really a building block, or just a talented piece?

It’s important to remember that Porzingis was booed by the fans on draft night because it reminds that expectations were low. So, with the low expectations, him exceeding expectations is overrated.  He went from thought of as a wasted pick to franchise savior in a matter of months.  The truth is somewhere in between.

It is tough to gauge potential improvement in big men because  it hasn’t happened lately. Dwight Howard never developed an offensive game. Anthony Davis hasn’t ‘grew’ into his body.  Karl Anthony Towns isn’t living up to expectations, although it is just his second season.  Nothing is guaranteed to anyone.

Porzingis has rare size at 7’3”, but so did Shawn Bradley. He doesn’t really have a world class skill. He is a jack of all trades, master of none, at this point in his career. He has a decent jump shot, but he’s not a knock-down shooter. He has good footwork, but he’s not strong enough to dominate the post. It’s not a knock, but Porzingis is very similar to Bradley, even if no one wants to acknowledge it.

Porzingis has put up decent numbers, but they are as a secondary option. Despite the grief that Carmelo receives, he is still a dominant offensive force that demands a double team, and Porzingis benefits from the attention that he receives.  If you take that away, it’s going to be even uglier than it is.

What Phil Jackson is doing is unfair to Porzingis. If Carmelo Anthony is traded, it’s hard to fathom Porzingis having a long NBA career.  Losing can wear on a player (see Michael Carter Williams)  The consensus is that he is the future for the  Knicks, but if that is the case then how bright is that future.

The Knicks have so many holes in the roster, so it makes no sense to move on from Carmelo now. Jackson must not have learned from the last time he ‘tore down’ the roster.

This is the same thing Phil did in 2015 when he sent the Cleveland Cavaliers Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith for nothing.  The team still hasn’t recovered.  Phil and the New York Knicks organization need to be very careful, or they might dig themselves a hole that the organization will never get out of.