The rise and rise of Kristaps Porzingis is absolutely spectacular, and it has truly been a joy to behold.
The lanky Latvian was booed mercilessly by Knicks fans on Draft night, who thought that Phil Jackson and co had just wasted their fourth overall pick on an unproven European while known commodities like Justise Winslow, Willie Cauley-Stein and Emmanuel Mudiay remained on the board.
Opinion on the big youngster has taken a complete 180 now, however, with Porzingis-mania reaching absurd levels after his explosive start to life in the NBA. He's even caught the eye of Kevin Durant, with the OKC Thunder star calling the center a 'Unicorn.'
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The Thunder are in New York to take on the Knicks on Tuesday and, while speaking to the media, Durant heaped some very high praise on the rookie.
“He can shoot, he can make the right plays, he can defend, he’s a 7-footer that can shoot all the way out to the 3-point line,” Durant said, via ESPN.
“That’s rare. And block shots — that’s like a unicorn in this league.”
Durant even went on to add that he was a fan of Porzingis' even before the draft, telling Knicks head coach Derek Fisher that the team had made an excellent pick.
"When they made the pick, I texted Fisher immediately and said 'I like this kid, he can play.' A lot of people were down on him, but he can play. He's a skilled guy and I think we've gotten away from enjoying skilled players in this league. We get so many players that are athletic and big and strong, but he's a skilled player."
The 20-year-old Latvian has a lot of hype around him and will only improve in the years to come.
Who knows, if Porzingis works hard then maybe we'll be mentioning him in the same breath as Durant when it comes to the NBA's best - rather than just flattering quotes.