NBA Rumors: Kristaps Porzingis Was The Steal Of The Draft?


NBA Rumors: Magic Johnson says that Kristaps Porzingis was the steal of the 2015 NBA Draft. Is he right, though?

Last Sunday evening, just hours after attending the Knicks-Lakers game at Madison Square Garden, NBA Legend Magic Johnson took to Twitter to share his opinion on Kristaps Porzingis.

Specifically, Johnson stated: “Knicks fans should applaud (Phil Jackson) for getting the steal of the draft in (Kristaps Porzingis)!”

Porzingis, of course, is the Knicks rookie, best known for being booed on draft night after being selected 4th overall by Phil Jackson and company. Fans of the team and league analysts were quick to jump on the legendary coach for taking the European big man as opposed to a better known young player like Emanuel Mudiay or Willie Cauley-Stein who were still on the board.

The season has been under way for just over two weeks now, and Porzingis has risen beyond the low expectations many had for him. Averaging 11.6 points and 9 rebounds per contest, in his rookie season is something few thought possible of a young man we were told would need time to develop into an impact player.

His per 36 minute stats look even more astounding, with just under 17 points and 13 rebounds a contest. On Wednesday night, against the Hornets, he drained what would have been the game-winning bucket had it left his fingers just a split second sooner.

Is it too early, though, to conclude that Porzingis is in fact the steal of the draft?

While I’d love to go right on and agree with Magic, there’s still a lot of variables to take in to account. First and foremost, his production has truly been astounding in the early goings especially when considering what people thought he’d be doing on the floor, but there’s no guarantee that this level of play will continue or eventually improve.

We still haven’t been granted a glimpse of what a fully healthy Knicks team looks like together with starting two-guard Aaron Afflalo barely getting into the swing of things. Carmelo Anthony has struggled early on to consistently hit his shots, so once he gets back to midseason form odds are Porzee will see his role begin to diminish.

Secondly, Porzingis’ real impact so far has come via the shock value. He wasn’t supposed to be so adept on the offensive glass, but he’s put defenders to shame for not boxing him out. He’s deceptively skilled with the ball for a man over 7-feet tall. Once opponents hone in on what he is able to do on the floor whose to say he can adjust and beat them anyways.

Lastly, if you’re declaring Porzingis the steal of the draft for his early season success, then that would make Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell the draft’s bust? He was the second overall selection, and billed as the heir to Kobe’s throne on draft night. Two weeks into his NBA career, we can’t already be claiming that he’s a resounding bust just because he’s taken his fair share of struggles.

What Kristaps Porzingis has been able to do on the floor has won over not only his teammates but the hardened New York fans in the seats of MSG. Just over five months removed from being showered in boos on what was one of the biggest nights of his life, Porzingis now gets showered in cheers and adoration on a nightly basis.

Let’s face facts, I didn’t exactly think we’d see this many Knicks highlights on ESPN, but it seems like he’s leaping over defenders for put back jams every other day.

Next: NBA Power Rankings: Week 3 Edition

Porzingis’ abilities have been a pleasant surprise to many but it’s still too early to declare him the steal of the 2015 NBA Draft. Even at seasons’ end, it’ll be too soon to declare anyone a steal or a bust. Let’s just hope that we’re able to see the newest members of the association develop into a class of perennial all-stars and game changers.