Dribbling around obstacles, firing chest passes with heat through a circular target, banging down threes — it’s Isaiah Thomas, John Wall territory, right? The NBA Skills Challenge was pretty much invented as a way to showcase the sick skills of the guys who aren’t going to win the dunk contest. But it’s all changed now, just like the typical NBA big man’s skill set. At All-Star weekend, 7’2″ Kristaps Porzingis won the skills challenge, beating centers like DeMarcus Cousins along the way.
Porzingis, the signature pick of Phil Jackson‘s checkered tenure as the majordomo of the New York Knicks, made the Zen master proud this weekend. Jackson ignored boos and conventional wisdom to take the dynamic Porzingis with the #4 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. Much has gone wrong for the Knicks since, as the long hoped-for turnaround keeps getting stalled. But Porzingis is a reminder that Jackson knows his basketball. The Knicks are just a tough project to fix.