Watching a draft is almost as intense as watching a game for many sports fans. While the individual picks won’t necessarily win or lose any specific game, it can have an impact on how a teams do during the next season.
That being said, some fans take it too far, letting their emotions get in the way of them, wanting the big name and believing that player, and that player only, will take them to the promised land.
Enter the New York Knicks.
With the fourth pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, the Knicks decided to with Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia and that didn’t sit well with Knicks fans who made their presence known with loud boos and sad faces. Knicks supporter, who also works at ESPN, Stephen A. Smith voiced his displeasure in a Twitter-filled rant.
But the problem with this, however, is that fans aren’t in the trenches, doing the dirty work, doing the scouting and knowing what is the best fit for the team. Instead, they just see the flashy names, the awesome random dunk highlights and stuff televisions show them.
Because of that, Knicks fans have to give Porzingis a chance to prove himself before making a true judgement on him.
First off, there’s a reason the Knicks drafted him that high in the draft. While some might be surprised by the move, it’s not quite an unexpected reach. Porzingis was expected to go somewhere in the top ten and there were a number of people who believe he can become a very pivotal part of an NBA team. So the Knicks really aren’t wrong from taking him that high.
Also, there is a blue print for foreign guys coming overseas and succeeding in the NBA. The obvious example is Dirk Nowitzki, but the more likely comparison is Pau and Marc Gasol, especially Pau. In fact, Pau succeeded in the “triangle offense,” implemented by now-Knicks general manager Phil Jackson when the two were in Los Angeles. Given the similarities in both height and athleticism, there’s a very good chance that Porzingis can find similar success in the Big Apple.
Of course, there will be an adjustment period that Porzingis will go through over the next several months and into this season and Knicks fans are going to have to be patient during that stretch as things work themselves out. There’s also a good chance that Porzingis will go the way of the last international player the Knicks drafted in Danilo Gallinari, who was a big bust in New York.
But to boo a player just because you don’t know a player’s name or it’s not the player you might have wanted is quite short-sighted and the wrong response in that situation. And you know what, I hope that Porzingis proves all of those who booed very, very wrong.