NBA rumors have been swirling around Kurt Rambis since he took over as head coach of the New York Knicks for Derek Fisher. While Rambis talked about turning the ship around and getting the Knicks into the NBA Playoffs, many were more intrigued by how his promotion was going to affect Kristaps Porzingis, the rookie phenom that has given hope to New York. According to Fox Sports, Rambis might be causing more harm than good to Porzingis and the Knicks.
When Derek Fisher was the head coach of the New York Knicks, one of the good things that he did was develop Kristaps Porzingis. The 7’3″, 230 pound forward was competing with Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl Anthony Towns and Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor to see who was the best rookie in the NBA. It was a very close and exciting race for a period of time there, but Porzingis has lost ground against Towns, who will more than likely receive the award when all is said and done.
Kristaps Porzingis hasn’t been nearly as impressive playing under Kurt Rambis than when he was with Derek Fisher. An obvious indication of that is the fact that he has yet to record a double double under Rambis. Porzingis had several of those when Fisher was coaching the New York Knicks. While some will state that Kristaps has hit the proverbial rookie wall in the NBA, many will point out the fact that Rambis has played him differently since taking over.
Under Derek Fisher, Kristaps Porzingis was allowed to be a dynamic player that opposing NBA coaches were not sure how to defend. Guys his height generally don’t shoot that well from beyond the three point line. Porzingis was also adept at blocking shots from the weak side and putting offensive rebounds demonstrably back into the basket. In that role, Kristaps was viewed as the future franchise player for the New York Knicks.
Kurt Rambis, on the other hand, believes that Kristaps Porzingis would be much more effective as a prototypical post player. Rambis doesn’t want Porzingis to spend much time beyond the three point line, where he can spread the floor for his teammates. Since Rambis has taken over, Porzingis has taken fewer shots from the outside. To say that the Latvian rookie has been taken away from his comfort zone is one of the biggest understatements in the NBA.
Derek Fisher once stated that the future position for Kristaps Porzingis would be at center, where he could use his versatility to take advantage of other NBA centers. Fisher wanted Porzingis to gain some weight and experience before moving him to the position. Porzingis was eventually supposed to take over for Robin Lopez, a player that the New York Knicks could trade in the future to bring back a couple of rotation players.
Kurt Rambis, on the other hand, is toying around with the idea of moving Kristaps Porzingis to the small forward position. He feels that the 20-year-old would find it beneficial to take smaller players down to the low post. Critics of Rambis have noted that the New York Knicks would be forced to play two big men alongside Porzingis in that lineup. Since those guys are unable to spread the floor, the belief is that opposing NBA teams would simply clog the lanes when Kristaps goes down low.
Kurt Rambis is supposed to be a smart basketball mind. After all, he’s spent years playing and coaching in the NBA. For whatever reasons, he’s struggling to figure out the best way to utilize Kristaps Porzingis, and that’s going to hurt the New York Knicks in the long run.
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