Kristaps Porzingis is learning moves players his size shouldn’t be able to do, and the NBA should be scared

kristaps porzingisLook out, NBA – Kristaps Porzingis is coming.David Zalubowski/AP

After a hot start, the hype around Kristaps Porzingis slowed down during his rookie season.

The New York Knicks began to struggle, and the 7-foot-3 Latvian clearly looked like the second-best rookie big man in the NBA, behind eventual rookie of the year winner Karl-Anthony Towns.

Since the end of the Knicks’ season in April, it looks like Porzingis has been hell-bent on improving his game, adding even more offensive versatility to his already diverse repertoire.

Recently, courtesy of ESPN’s Ian Begley, we’ve gotten a look at Porzingis’ offseason work, and the NBA should be scared.

Porzingis is already the perfect mold for the future center of the NBA: long, athletic, and with the ability to guard the rim and shoot three-pointers. But 7-foot-3 players are not supposed to have this type of handle and jump shot off the dribble. Heck, there are players half a foot shorter than Porzingis who can’t move like this.

Kristaps Porzingis works with Knicks assistant Josh Longstaff on a cross over/step-back sequence to create space:

— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 15, 2016

Kristaps Porzingis with Knicks assistant Josh Longstaff incorporating a crossover dribble into a pull-up jump shot.

— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 15, 2016

Kristaps Porzingis brings the ball up and finishes during a scrimmage at his youth camp in Latvia.

— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 14, 2016

Granted, this isn’t staunch, NBA-level defense, but it’s not Porzingis’ ability to make the shot that’s impressive so much as it is his ability to even learn these moves at his size. In short: wow.

If some of these moves look familiar, then it may not be a coincidence. Begley notes that Porzingis has been working with Knicks assistant Josh Longstaff. He was previously an assistant for the Oklahoma City Thunder, meaning that he worked with another tall, talented NBA player: Kevin Durant.

It’s impossible to project that kind of ceiling onto Porzingis: Durant is one of the top-three best players in the entire NBA.

But if Porzingis can develop even half of Durant’s skills as a scorer, combined with his length and defensive instincts, then the Knicks may have an entirely different monster on their hands.

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