Kristaps Porzingis: ‘I have a lot of learning to do from him (Dirk Nowitzki)’


Kristaps Porzingis has been compared to Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, Pau Gasol, among others.

Porzingis feels that among all the comparisons, that he is most similar to Nowitzki per Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

"“They’re all different and I’m different,”“But I think I’m closer to Dirk maybe than Pau. Dirk is just amazing. But I want to be as great of a shooter as he is one day hopefully.”"

Great might even be a understatement, as Nowitzki could arguably be the best shooting big man ever. Nowitzki is one of the handful of players that has cracked the 50-40-90 club, where the player shoots a percentage at or above 50% field goals, 40% from three-pointers, and 90% from the free-throw line.

Nowitzki joined the 50-40-90 club in his MVP 2006-2007 season, where he shot 50.2% on field goals, 41.6% from three-pointers, and 90.4% from free-throws. Nowitzki nearly accomplished the feat again in the 2013-2014 season, just missing it with 49.7% on field goals, 39.8% from three-pointers, and 89.9% from free-throws.

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At age 37, Nowitzki could make the 50-40-90 club this season! So far he is shooting 49.8% on field goals, 42.6% from three-pointers, and 91.2% from free-throws. Nowitzki has a true shooting percentage of 59.9% this season, which is one of the best true shooting percentage for a player 37 years-old or older.

Porzingis acknowledges that he may be similar to Nowitzki in some ways but fully understands that he is leaps and bounds from his level of play. Porzingis’ brother has been making mixtapes of Nowitzki’s games so that he can learn and get better from them.

"“Yeah, I have some similarities with Dirk,”“He’s a way, way better shooter than I am. I’m trying to get there. I want to learn his post-game, how he uses his body.”“I’ve seen a lot of highlights, games. My brother made a lot of highlights for me to watch and learn from him. I obviously know his game. But even if you know his game he’s hard to stop.”"

Mixtapes like this? There is a lot to learn young man.

Porzingis knows that he has a lot to learn.

"“That one leg shot…it’s really hard to guard,”“I still got to get that mid-range (shot). And the three-pointer. I have a lot of learning to do from him.”"

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That one-legged fadeaway is a thing of beauty. There will be a statue of that pose one day at the American Airlines Center.

Porzingis is also fully appreciative of Nowitzki for paving the way for European players such as himself to come into the NBA. The 7’3″ Latvian knows the importance of Nowitzki’s career and how he has affected all the European players in the last decade-plus.

"“He’s seventh in the all-time scoring list…that’s incredible for a European player especially,”“He created the path for European players. I’m just trying to walk (in) his footsteps and maybe one day be as great as his.”"

Monday night, Porzingis will get to meet his childhood idol (revealed in a Twitter Q & A) for the first time in his life but says he will maintain his  professionalism.

"“I’m not going to bother him. If he has something to say to me, advice, I will listen to him.”"

Should a NBA champion, Finals MVP, season MVP, and 13 time All-Star give you advice, it would indeed be wise to listen.

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Hopefully Porzingis will even have a fraction of the success that is the Hall of Fame career of Nowitzki. It is a tall task right now for Porzingis but it will be fun to watch him in his journey.