Phil Jackson Takes Huge Risk in Porzingis: Will It Pay Off?

Published on 30-Jun-2015 by David Webb
Basketball - NBA / NBA Daily Opinion

Kristaps Porzingis

Boos, that’s what Kristaps Porzingis heard.

Last Thursday, the New York Knicks selected Porzingis with the No 4 pick. Knicks’ fans were not pleased to say the least. Boos were heard, and questions were being raised.

Why, exactly, would Phil Jackson pull the trigger on a young European center?

New York didn’t understand. Hell, even this young fan recorded himself crying after Adam Silver announced the selection:

Not the best start to the 19-year old Latvian’s New York career. Ouch.

Of all the picks in the Top Five, Kristaps is facing the most pressure. Not only is he going to New York, but now fans are expecting him to become their version of Dirk Nowitzki. Anything less will not be tolerated. However, beneath all the noise, is Phil Jackson on to something?

  • New York needs a player for the future, especially one with superstar potential. Kristaps wanted to play in New York and is determined to show NBA fans that he is not the next Darko Milicic. This pick shows the Knicks finally making the risky and long-term decision instead of forcing trades to duct-tape a supporting cast around Carmelo Anthony. While potentially, it could not pay off, these are the kinds of decisions that the Knicks have to make to get back into contention.
     
  • While Melo is still the cornerstone of the Knicks for now, this shows that New York doesn't necessarily want to hitch their wagon entirely to him and his act. With how the team was constructed in the last couple of seasons, they should've probably let Melo run off into the sunset and start a proper rebuild. Instead, they decided against it. Can you blame them, though?

    Get that man a supporting cast.
     
  • Again, Kristaps is only 19. So, the Knicks have time to mold him into the player they want him to be. Furthermore, the fact that Porzingis can shoot and move around the court with ease makes him more attractive if Jackson is so adamant on running the triangle. If it pays off, Phil will look like a genius.

It’s not the sexy pick and it’s not the “win-now” move that Knicks’ fans wanted, but it might have been the best pick for the franchise.

New York is in a rut -- to say the least -- and it’ll take patience to get out of it. Rebuilding is never a happy experience, especially in big markets. New York was promised the world when Amar’e Stoudemire came to town, and that escalated when Melo arrived.

Obviously, the plan did not end well. But, the Knicks are making the smart decisions they need to make. Trading JR Smith in and of itself should be praised.

Seriously, give that front office a medal.

Patience is required, which is a lot to ask for New York fans wanting a championship now. The rebuilding process has to start somewhere, and Kristaps is the first move towards that. Don’t expect the world from him yet, and be ready to see some ugly games.

It’s risky and it took a lot of guts to make the selection. They can’t go back to fix those ugly decisions, but they may have just found their new cornerstone.

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