Ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s game against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, Kevin Durant paid a compliment to rookie Kristaps Porzingis, calling him a “unicorn” because of his rare combination of talents.
“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,” Durant said, according to ESPN. “That’s rare. And block shots—that’s like a unicorn in this league.
“When they made the pick, I texted [Knicks head coach Derek Fisher] immediately and said ‘I like this kid, he can play.’ A lot of people were down on him, but he can play. He’s a skilled guy and I think we’ve gotten away from enjoying skilled players in this league. We get so many players that are athletic and big and strong, but he’s a skilled player.”
In 46 starts for the Knicks this season, the No. 4 pick is averaging 14.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
“You’ve got to respect what he’s doing,” Durant said. “This being New York City, everything is under a microscope, but he’s progressing at a high rate pretty fast, and he’s going to be a force.”
Porzingis scored 15 points and added five rebounds in the Knicks’ 128–122 overtime loss to the Thunder on Tuesday. Durant dropped a season-high 44 points with 14 rebounds for Oklahoma City who improved to 34–13.
New York fell to 22–25 and 0–5 without Carmelo Anthony this season.
- Erin Flynn