One of the early surprises of the NBA season has been the play of Kristaps Porzingis.
Taken by the Knicks with the fourth pick in the draft, the 20-year-old, 7-foot-3 Latvian big man was considered a project, a player who would take a long time to develop.
Instead, Porzingis has shown flashes of his incredibly versatile skills early on, averaging 12 points on 39% shooting, seven rebounds, and nearly two steals and one block per game.
Though he still looks raw in some areas, his ability to hit all degrees of shots, rebound, and defend at an NBA level have surprised many.
In a segment on MSG Network’s “Nothing But Knicks,” Knicks head coach Derek Fisher offered an interesting theory for why he thinks Porzingis has been able to adjust to the NBA so smoothly, where many thought he’d struggle.
“It seems very simple,” Fisher said, “but his understanding and command of the English language, being able to speak it, being able to understand it at a very high-level, I think it’s helping with his transition.”
“He’s not struggling to understand what he needs to do, it’s just going to take him time to become really consistent at it, like all rookies need time to develop. So, I’m not so surprised [at how smooth the transition has been], but I know there will be times where I wish it was going a little bit faster.”
Fisher also said that one of the struggles for every rookie, and even veterans, is to ignore the outside pressure of a how player should play, and just to play their natural game.
Through five games, Porzingis has given us highlights like these:
In a league where several foreign players have struggled to make the adjustment, Porzingis not only seems well adjusted to American life, he doesn’t seem shy about playing his game.
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