When the New York Knicks selected Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in this summer's NBA Draft, the fans in attendance weren't at all pleased.
European prospects don't have the best track record of becoming proven stars in the league, and when you add in the fact that Porzingis has an extremely tall and slender frame, he doesn't exactly have the look of a player who's ready to dominate for years to come.
Phil Jackson himself even wondered if Porzingis might be "too tall" to play the game, and compared him to the 7'6" Shawn Bradley -- someone who did manage to play 12 NBA seasons, but who was never thought of as a cornerstone of a franchise.
Porzingis realized that Jackson may have simply been trying to motivate him to add some bulk, and he's doing everything he can to respond -- part of which means consuming 5,000 calories (including three steaks!) per day.
"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?” he said, via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “I want to be better than Shawn Bradley obviously and be stronger than him, but I’m a different player.”
Porzingis is vastly different than Bradley offensively, in that he's an excellent shooter who can knock it down regularly from three-point distance. If he can transform his body to the point where he won't become a liability on the defensive end, Knicks fans won't have to worry that he'll simply become a novelty act the way Bradley once was.
Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
[via Larry Brown Sports]