Mark Cuban: Mavericks were ready to trade up for Kristaps Porzingis
Dirk Nowtizki wasn’t the only member of the Dallas Mavericks organization to dole out high praise to New York Knicks rookie phenom Kristaps Porzingis. Count team owner Mark Cuban a huge fan of the 20-year-old Latvian as well.
In fact, Cuban insists the Mavericks were prepared to trade up from the 21st pick in order to land Porzingis in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Speaking before the rookie almost led the Knicks to a comeback victory over Cuban’s Mavs only to come up short in a 104-97 loss, Cuban heaped praise upon the player who has taken the NBA by storm.
“We would have traded up in a heartbeat to get that kid,’’ he said, via the New York Post. “We loved him. Obviously, people are going to compare him to Dirk because that’s what people like to do. When you’re 7-foot-3, those three inches make a difference.
“I’m a Porzingis fan. I’ve got my Russian insults all packaged up to starting screaming at him with my high school Russian. Porzingis is the real deal. He’s got some s–t to him and that’s different.”
While Cuban is incorrect about languages Porzingis can speak — just Latvian, English and Spanish, apparently — he is spot-on in how the rookie, like Nowitizki all those years ago, has the potential to at least in part revolutionize the game.
The Knicks did dangle the fourth-overall pick, but didn’t like what was being offered so instead took a flier on the lanky European. And it’s paid encouraging dividends.
In his first 22 games, Porzingis has dazzled, averaging 14.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while shooting 46 percent from the field.
Nowitzki, after witnessing first-hand Porzingis’ skills on Monday night, said the rookie is “for real” and adding the “sky’s the limit for this kid.”
And had Cuban managed to swing a deal on draft night, the veteran Nowitzki would have been able to show Porzingis the NBA ropes.