When the New York Knicks tabbed Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, their fans booed the rookie without mercy.
Months later, and the 20-year-old rookie has silenced critics to the tune of 14 points, 7.8 rebounds and two blocks per game, with Knicks fans and seemingly the entire league in love with the kid.
Unlike many Knicks fans who first doubted the 7-foot-3 power forward, though, Kevin Durant felt good vibes about the rookie immediately, letting it be known to Knicks head coach and former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Derek Fisher.
"When they made the pick, I texted [Fisher] immediately and I said I liked the pick. A lot of people were down on him, but he can play," Durant told the Washington Post. "I've seen it, you've seen it... he's a skilled guy."
Perhaps KD even sees some of himself in Porzingis, considering they're both skilled big men, who could put the ball on the floor and shoot from the outside. That might be why Durant described Porzingis as a "unicorn" in the NBA.
"I think we've gotten away from enjoying the skilled players in this league," Durant continued. "We've got so many guys that are athletic, and big and strong, but he's a skilled player. He can shoot, he can make the right plays, he can defend, he's a seven-footer that can shoot all the way out to the three-point line. That's rare. And block shots... that's, like, a unicorn in this league. You've got to respect what he's doing. This being New York City, everything is under a microscope, but he's progressing at a high rate pretty fast, and he's gonna be a force."
Already having a solid rookie campaign, this co-sign from KD just adds another highlight to the early start of Porzingis's career.
But Porzingis shouldn't get too happy. He might have to guard Durant when the Thunder visit the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
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