New York Knicks president Phil Jackson revealed at the press conference on the hiring of Jeff Hornacek that he advised the Los Angeles Lakers to take Kristaps Porzingis with the second pick in last June’s draft (via The New York Post).
“We knew that [Porzingis] had a lot of talent. We saw that even in the workout with him shooting, and I had some fun with one of the Buss guys and I told him after [our] workout, ‘You guys are going to be sorry if you don’t pick up Porzingis with the second pick.’ They didn’t, we did.”
Porzingis, the runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting, averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game in his rookie season. He was, without a doubt, one of the most exciting rookies in the NBA last season.
D’Angelo Russell, on the other hand, who the Lakers took second overall, didn’t have nearly the same impact as Porzingis did. He struggled at times and failed to win the approval of then-head coach Byron Scott. There was also the leaked video he took of a private conversation with Lakers teammate Nick Young.
The Lakers’ loss became the Knicks’ gain, and now New York is anxiously waiting to see what Porzingis will do in Year 2.
“I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so,” is probably what Jackson is telling the Lakers, the team he coached and helped win championships for. Should have listened to Phil, Lakers.