Kristaps Porzingis? Kevin Durant Is The NBA’s Unicorn

Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kristaps Porzingis? Kevin Durant Is The NBA’s Unicorn


Before Kristaps Porzingis was drafted in the 2015 NBA Draft, scouts and observers had difficulties to come up with comparisons for the 7’3 phenom. The scouts who believed that Porzingis is a special talent compared him to Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol, the ones who didn’t fully believe in him, or were sceptical, compared him to Darko Milicic, or even Shawn Bradley.

While Porzingis had instant success in his rookie season, it took over a year for someone to find an appropriate comparison. Kristaps Porzingis is a unicorn. In 2016, non other than Kevin Durant made the observation that the Latvian is a never seen before type of talent, and therefore noncomparable – hence the ‘unicorn’.


“He can shoot, he can make the right plays, he can defend, he’s a 7-footer that can shoot all the way out to the 3-point line. That’s rare. And block shots—that’s like a unicorn in this league.”


While that nickname stuck with him, former NBA All-Star Chris Webber now made an interesting observation, and he’s right. Not Porzingis, but Durant himself is the unicorn. During a media conference call last night, Webber was asked how Houston could defend Durant more succesfully, and if there were people in the league who doubt Durant’s 6’9 listing. Webber responded by saying that Durant indeed is a seven-footer, but also the real unicorn.


“I’m 6ft9 and a half and he’s at least three inches taller than me. Just look at him next to Anthony Davis or other players – he’s 7ft tall. I would bet money on it. It’s funny, I think most of us project on others who we are and when he called Porzingis the unicorn, I just think he was talking about himself. Porzingis is not a unicorn. Durant averaging 28 fourth all-time for the play-offs with his scoring average, that went up last night by the way, leaves behind Jordan, Iverson, West – he’s the unicorn. So unless you find someone that can grow on the play, it’s not easy to check him because someone my height may not be able to move laterally and stay with him so you’re vulnerable to the cross zone, you’re vulnerable to his penetration, his step back. Someone, let’s say that is the height of a Jrue Holiday that is a really good defender that can move laterally doesn’t matter, it’s just a chair drill. If I’m shooting a shot and the best you can do is put a hand up and may be at my chest and I can see the rim and I have space, there’s nothing you can do with me. And even if you’re a good defender, there’s nothing you can do with a great offensive player. So no, there’s no one-man adjustment that can be made, there’s nobody on that bench. There’s no one on Golden State that can check Durant and there’s no one on Houston that can check Durant. That’s not a blow to anyone, I’m not trying to dog anyone that’s just the fact of the matter. Maybe they can come off double teams, maybe they can do other things but the genius of the Golden State system is ball movement. So a double team doesn’t matter, they have featured artists that they could do every night, let’s say Durant was featured last night, you don’t know Curry could be the feature tomorrow. You really can’t stop an option with the team who likes using as many options perusing the offence and finding the best shot possible, that’s just hard to stop. Stopping Durant you really should not try to do that because while you’re going to focus on Durant, someone else is going to have 30 and you’re going to be down 30 points. You can’t make this about one guy because there’s a lot of players and a lot of teams that you see allow players to have 50 points and they still win. The system of the Golden State will allow you and say please stop one of our players so we can exploit your other weaknesses.”


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