by Ham… follow on Twitter @yourboyham11
THE. REAL. DEAL.
I planned on going into this season with low expectations for the Zinger. There’s no rush with him. Let him grow. Let him develop. And hopefully in a few years we’ll have allowed Kris to grow into the Latvian Larry Bird or Dirk 2.0 or whatever you want to call him. Patience is the name of the game.
But goddamnit is it hard to be patient. I fucking love this kid already.
And I loved everything I saw on Saturday. Everything. No, that doesn’t mean he played a perfect game — far from it. It means that I had a certain expectation level, and he exceeded it. He was confident. He didn’t force things. He knew his current role. He was a great teammate. He set picks. He moved the ball quickly. He dove to the rim. He didn’t hesitate or second guess himself. He showed effort on the boards. He stepped confidently into every one of his shots, especially the long attempt from three. He played good (not great) help defense. He contested shots. He ran the floor. He moved very well despite a lingering hip problem. And he showed toughness.
Yeah, he bit on a few pump fakes. What rook isn’t going to do that? And yeah, he had some issues getting position on the post. But the footwork was still there. The strength will come with time. He very clearly needs to add muscle. But muscle is much different than toughness.
That last part is key. Very key. You can see that he’s not some typical pussy Euro. He’s tough. He’ll go in there and mix it up. Sure he might get ragdolled this first year or so, but I’ll take a dude who will willingly go back to the block despite that over and over. I love this kids attitude. From the acceptance of the boos on Draft Night right up to playing through an injury (however minor it is) here at Summer League. I’m not saying he was incredible. He wasn’t. But he was confident. And that’s the biggest thing for a young guy like him. And yeah, I’d be lying if I didn’t get a little giddy at some of the flashes there.
We should all still be patient. But this is a promising start. The Porzingis Era has officially begun. Second game is tonight at 8:30. #Knickstaps
P.S. I’ve watched the most absurd amount of Summer League. I just have it on all day on my TV. It’s pathetic how much I’ve watched. Well actually now that I think about it, I guess it’s less pathetic than having a fat old sportscaster pounding Diet Coke’s in my face while callers propose potential trades for the Mets. But it’s still pretty pathetic. Enjoy the rest of your vacation Mike, see you again soon.