Few players in NBA history embody the term, “Iconic,” quite like Walt Frazier. A two-time NBA champion with four All-NBA First Team honors and an uncanny ability to put both words and outfits together.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that Frazier’s opinion was inquired of the New York Knicks’ highly-touted rookies.
"I’ve seen tremendous improvement. He seems to be more aggressive, more relaxed. He needs to get stronger and become a little more selfish; he’s a little too altruistic out there. When he gets in the paint at 7-3, don’t look for anybody, but the hoop. He’s finally realized he can block shots without jumping. He’s 7-3 and raises his hand, but now he stays on his feet and is a little more intimidating. I think [Jerian] Grant is a little ahead of him right now and Grant can play a lot early on. He’s a good defender and penetrates very well. He shot horribly in the preseason, but that’s nerves."
Frazier is right on all accounts.
Porzingis is a physically overwhelming player who not only stands at 7’3″, but has the agility to catch defenders off guard. Whether he’s going to the post, attacking off the bounce or spotting up from 3-point range, he’s a matchup nightmare.
With the proper footwork, ball control and posture, Porzingis would be close to impossible to defend.
For the time being, Porzingis lacks the fundamental polish to complement his physical gifts. He understands the game of basketball better than most his age, but hasn’t yet discovered how to apply his physical abilities to the things he sees on the court.
Frazier’s advice is to simply keep building muscle and to understand how valuable his size can be.
As for Grant, he’s been a delightful player to watch. It’s very early in the 2015-16 regular season, of course, but even after just two games, it’s been clear that he belongs in the NBA.
A selfless facilitator and committed defender, Grant’s done everything from stealing inbound passes to diving into the crowd to save loose balls.
Grant may or may not develop into a star, or even a starter for that matter. What’s clear, however, is that he’s a valuable asset whose athleticism, playmaking ability and relentless motor can help develop New York’s identity as a team.
He’s may or may not be the next Clyde Frazier, but Grant is an exciting young talent whose upside is immense.
The question, of course, is how quickly can they develop?
Carmelo Anthony is 31 years old and coming off of a severe knee injury. He’s never been the type of player who lives above the rim, but his age and desire for a championship fail to fit the timetable of a rebuilding process.
If Grant and Porzingis come along faster than expected, however, the Knicks could reward Anthony’s faith in the organization.
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