New York Knicks president Phil Jackson compared Kristaps Porzingis to Shawn Bradley, prompting Porzingis to deny the comparison on Wednesday.
In the article published last month, Jackson said Porzingis’s game was impressive, specifically citing a Spanish League game in which Porzingis excelled against competition Jackson said was “more physical, more consistent and more advanced than even the best D-I college teams.” Jackson did admit to having fears over how Porzingis’s 7'1", 220-pound frame would hold up in the NBA.
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.”
Porzingis reportedly added 11 pounds over the off-season, and he responded to the comparison to Bradley—the No. 2 pick in the 1993 draft and 1997 NBA blocks leader who played 12 NBA seasons—at a sponsorship event on Wednesday.
“Yeah I saw it. I don’t know what to say? I guess that’s what Phil does, gets us to work hard and fired up. That fired me up. I’m like, ‘I’m not Shawn Bradley, you know?” Porzingis said, responding to a recent interview on ESPN.com where Jackson wondered if the Latvian was “too tall for the NBA” like the awkward 7-6 Bradley. “I want to be better than Shawn Bradley obviously and be stronger than him,” Porzingis added, “but I’m a different player.”
- Mike Fiammetta