Thanks to highlight videos his brother put together, New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis idolized Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki growing up. Due to their height and the fact they both are from Europe, Porzingis has often been compared to Nowitzki but while the Knicks rookie openly admits that there are some similarities, he still is quite reverential to the Mavs forward.
“Yeah, I have some similarities with Dirk,” Porzingis said. “He's a way, way better shooter than I am. I’m trying to get there. I want to learn his post game, how he uses his body.
"I've seen a lot of highlights, games. My brother made a lot of highlights for me to watch and learn from him. I obviously know his game. But even if you know his game he's hard to stop."
Asked if he would like to speak to Nowitzki, Porzingis added: "I'm not going to bother him. If he has something to say to me, advice, I will listen to him."
“He's seventh in the all-time scoring list . . . that's incredible for a European player especially,” Porzingis said. “He created the path for European players. I’m just trying to walk (in) his footsteps and maybe one day be as great as he is.”
"They're all different and I'm different," Porzingis said. "But I think I'm closer to Dirk maybe than Pau. Dirk is just amazing. But I want to be as great of a shooter as he is one day hopefully."
At the start of the season, Porzingis was struggling with his shot. But as the season has progressed, he has improved and is now shooting 44 percent, 35.1 percent from three and 84.5 percent from the free-throw line. Porzingis' shot mechanics are quite good so he will likely only keep improving. But will he ever get to Nowitzki's level, who is hovering around the 50-40-90 club right now by shooting 50 percent, 43.5 percent from three and 89.6 percent from the line?
It is still way too early to tell. However, it is entirely possible. Especially since Nowitzki himself, expects greatness from Porzingis.