Draft day fan reception doesn’t make or break an NBA career. That’s good news for Kristaps Porzingis, the No. 4 overall pick by the Knicks in June’s NBA draft, who was not a popular choice among the fan base.
Most fears likely came from being wary of international prospects, chief among them Darko Milicic — the man drafted directly ahead of Melo who never became more than a role player.
The Knicks were burned by such a draft selection in 2000, when they passed up Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) for Frenchmen Frederic Weis, who never played stateside.
But the 20-year-old Latvian is no Weis — Porzingis already is here, and Vince Carter hasn’t dunked over him. He’s no Milicic either, because the 7-3 big man already is expected to start at power forward rather than languish at the end of the bench.
Porzingis’ long frame and outside shooting stroke make him intriguing in today’s 3-point centric NBA. Fans should monitor his minutes — the more run he gets, the more faith coach Derek Fisher is showing in his potential star-in-waiting.