- Michael Reaves/Getty
New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis has continued to develop in his second season in the NBA, showing off a versatile offensive game in boosting his scoring average to 19 points per game.
On Monday night, in a 93-77 win over the Dallas Mavericks, Porzingis scored 24 points on 8-16 shooting, debuting a Mavericks-inspired move in the process.
During the third quarter, Porzingis faced up, attempted to drive left, then pulled back and hit a fade-away jumper from the elbow. As he did so, he leaned back, keeping his back straight while raising his right leg into a 90-degree angle to create space from his defender.
If the move looked familiar, it’s because it’s been Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki’s patented move during his 18-year career. Players across the league have copied it, from Kevin Durant to Carmelo Anthony. Porzingis is the latest.
After the game, Nowitzki (who didn’t play because of soreness in his Achilles) had a fantastic reaction when asked about Porzingis using his fade-away.
“He was staring me down,” Nowitzki said. “That was cold-blooded.”
Nowitzki continued, singing the praises of Porzingis’ game.
“He’s not only a 7-footer but he is like 7-4 out there with an 8-5 wingspan. He’s got an incredible touch. He can move. He can dribble. He can put it on the floor more now. He is going to be a great player in this league for a long, long time.”
Porzingis is a big fan of Nowitzki and has solicited Nowitzki’s advice in the offseason, according to Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Their schedules did not line up to get together, however.
After the game, Porzingis also praised Nowitzki, saying he wants to be like him when he “grows up.” At 21, Porzingis is certainly on track to have an impact on the NBA, particularly if he continues to borrow Nowitzki’s moves.