Header Ads

Bernard King on Kristaps Porzingis' play: 'I don't know if we've ever seen that before'

Former New York Knicks great Bernard King has played and watched basketball for more than 40 years. Yet recently, he has seen something in New York he hadn’t witnessed before: Kristaps Porzingis' versatility.

“He’s been really outstanding," King said of the Knicks' third-year big man. "I’ve never seen a 7-foot-3 guy that can hit 3-point shots the way he does. Also, he has a tremendous understanding of basketball and where his placement of his body is on the court in terms of positioning. And how to get position.”

His recent minor shooting slump aside, Porzingis has taken a leap forward this season. His points per game (plus-9.7), free throw attempts per game (plus-3.4) and 3-point field goal percentage (plus-5.5 percent) have all increased significantly this year.

King, a Hall of Famer who recently penned a book on his life, has been impressed.

“What I see most beyond scoring is his court vision. He has great vision,” King said. “And you don’t always see that in players. And when I say great court vision, he has court vision of a guard.

"That’s rare to see that in a big man, particularly of his size. I don’t know if we’ve ever seen that before.”

The Knicks (8-7) are coming off of a blowout loss in Toronto on Friday and face a challenging week ahead. They host the LA Clippers at home on Monday, the Raptors at home on Wednesday and then hit the road to face the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets. Coming out of the week 2-2 and remaining over .500 would be a significant accomplishment.

Regardless of how things play out this week, King likes the attitude the Knicks have shown in the first month of the season.

“There’s a resiliency and I’ve seen that the club has a great deal of energy that it plays with. It plays with a central core of desire and passion,” King says. “That’s what the game was always about, and I love to see that they, as a team, command that. They’re going to continue to grow. They will get better.”

King praised the play of Tim Hardaway Jr. (17.5 points, 3 assists per game) and Enes Kanter (14 points, 10 rebounds per game) while citing the depth around Porzingis.

“Hardaway is having a breakout year. He’s really playing great basketball,” King said of the shooting guard. “Bringing him back to New York has really energized him. But he has come back as more of mature athlete -- someone who can handle the pressure of the moment."

King, whose Knicks career was impacted by a major knee injury, played on two playoff teams in New York. He feels the distinct energy at Madison Square Garden that surrounds a winner early on this season.

“We started hearing the chants of 'De-fense, De-fense' raining down from the rafters, and you know the fans are into the game. ... It’s really been fun to watch,” he said.

King’s autobiography was released earlier this month. Described as a "private person," King reflects on his journey and path in life, including his NBA career. The analytics crowd may enjoy the passages on King’s approach to the game. He says he was an early champion of analytics because, among other tactics, he broke down the court in different vectors to determine his approach to scoring.

“I was ahead of the curve analytically,” he says with a laugh.

King’s book also addressed off-the-court issues, including a difficult relationship with his mother and alcohol abuse.

“Going public with my secrets has been very cathartic,” King says. “Maybe it will empower others to address their own personal issues and learn from my story of how I overcame adversity. Perhaps my approach will be helpful and inspire them.”

Author: Ian Begley, ESPN
Source: http://www.espn.com/blog/new-york-knicks/post/_/id/66884/bernard-king-on-kristaps-porzingis-play-i-dont-know-if-weve-ever-seen-that-before

No comments

Powered by Blogger.