Charley Rosen's "Phil Files" are back, y'all. In Part 8 of the series, we're finally past all the losers and scumbags of 2014-15 and ready to discuss the winners Phil Jackson drafted to make America great again! (God, I have to stop reading Donald Trump quotes.)
Phil goes over a few of the old stories on how they first came across Kristaps Porzingis -- scouted by the reliably awesome Clarence Gaines, who sent Phil game tapes. He praises the kid's skillset, toughness and basketball IQ, but then brings up the dread Shawn Bradley comp:
"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."
I know that this has been discussed ad nauseum by now, but Shawn Bradley was a pretty damn fine basketball player once he settled in Dallas. Check out the last eight seasons of his career, courtesy of Basketball-Reference:
I'll take those defense and rebounding numbers any day of the week. If Porzingis turns into an offensively polished Shawn Bradley with shooting range out to the three-point line, he'll be a legit top 10 player in this league.
Jackson also spoke a bit on what he expects from Zinger in the upcoming season:
"It's entirely up to [coach Derek Fisher], but it would be great if KP could get as much as 20 minutes a game early in the season, plus maybe a few more later when he's acclimated to the NBA game. It also has to be determined whether he'll be more comfortable at power forward or center."
From the moment they drafted Porzingis I figured the Knicks would go all "durrrr he ain't playing center til he grows some chest hair," but I've been pleasantly surprised. Though, the more I think about it, the more I think Krispy might have to spend ample time at the 4, particularly if Carmelo Anthony is going to once again insist on playing small forward. From what we saw in Summer League, Porzingis might be the big long and athletic enough to step out and contest all the three-point shooters Melo usually leaves open.
Speaking of bigs who used to play for Sevilla, Jackson also had some nice things to say about Willy Hernangomez
"Willie was a teammate of KP's with Sevilla," says Jackson," and they're best friends. I love this kid! I'd compare him to a stronger version of Luis Scola. He needs to stay in Spain for another year, as he has a contract with [Real] Madrid, but I can definitely see him becoming a solid NBA player."
On a slightly sour note, Jackson discusses the idea of Jerian Grant competing with Langston Galloway for playing time. I know Jackson has to be diplomatic toward the veterans, but the guy Grant should be "competing" with is Jose Calderon. And when I say "competing" I mean Grant should probably supplant him as the starting point guard by November.
Other than that, it was a nice talk, Phil and Charley. The final chapter of is scheduled to drop next week, so that we can all get on with our lives.