sports

Kristaps Porzingis says he doesn’t want to play center

Dan Feldman
NBC Sports

The Knicks just got rid of a franchise player who tormented New York fans with his reluctance to play his optimal position.

Now, the Knicks replace Carmelo Anthony with Kristaps Porzingis… who also doesn’t want to play his optimal position.

Porzingis, via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

“I think it’s better for us,” Porzingis said Wednesday. “Me at the 4, especially if I’m playing against a non-shooting 4, I can do a lot. When I’m playing against the 5, I’m fighting with the big a lot of times and I’m wasting a lot of energy. Obviously, offensively I have an advantage at center, but I’m just more comfortable playing at the 4.”

“Fours are usually smaller, and I can shoot over them easier,” Porzingis said. “If it’s a non-shooter at power forward, then I can be under the rim on defense and protecting the rim and that’s what I love.

Like Anthony at power forward vs. small forward, Porzingis – at center vs. power forward – is more effective at a bigger position. That’s true of many players in the modern NBA.

But, in the bigger picture, tussling with bigger players can be wearing. Porzingis has already looked susceptible to minor injuries. It’s probably best he spend some time at less-demanding power forward. With Joakim Noah, Enes Kanter, Willy Hernangomez and Kyle O’Quinn at center, New York can accommodate Porzingis.

Still, the Knicks also ought to play 7-foot-3 Porzingis at center when they’re trying to maximize their chances of winning. Maybe that comes in a few choice games this year but more often next season. Perhaps, the 22-year-old Porzingis gets stronger and more capable of playing center in future years, too.

Anthony dodged playing down during his physical prime. This isn’t an identical situation… yet.

 

82 Reactions

What to read next