Kurt Rambis Wants to Play Kristaps Porzingis at Small Forward

Joe PantornoFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2016

New York Knicks interim coach Kurt Rambis talks to forward Kristaps Porzingis during a timeout in the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Madison Square Garden in New York, Tuesday, March 1, 2016. The Blazers won 104-85. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

New York Knicks' 7'3" rookie phenom Kristaps Porzingis has started his NBA career playing the power forward position next to center Robin Lopez while exhibiting his mid- to long-range shooting ability from the field.

In the final stretch of the season, though, Porzingis will "eventually" see some time at the 3, Knicks head coach Kurt Rambis told Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal (via RealGM).

Porzingis is averaging 13.8 points per game this season and is shooting 41.5 percent from the field. His three-point shooting isn't stellar at 32.9 percent, but it is a surprisingly efficient number for a player who's so tall.

The NBA showed the kind of versatility he possesses, something that could see him play any position from the 3 to the 5:

Regardless of his successes, he still had work to do in the eyes of Rambis, who told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News in February that "there are shots out there that he takes that I flat-out don't like," that the team is "working on his decision-making in those situations" and that he needs to work on his post game.

Since those comments, Porzingis has attempted 20 three-pointers in seven games. In the seven games prior to Rambis' comments, Porzingis put up 31 attempts.

Rambis saying that Porzingis will see time at the 3 could be counterproductive to his earlier desires for the rookie's development.

Playing the small forward position doesn't call for many opportunities to go down low and post up under the basket. This could hurt Porzingis' chances of finding a true niche in the league and settling in with the Knicks at the 4.

However, Rambis putting Porzingis at the 3 does carry the possibility of rounding out his game. If Rambis was satisfied with what he saw from Porzingis in the post since his earlier comments, his next order of business could be improving the rookie's play away from the basket.

 

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.