According to a report from Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Kobe Byrant is pretty high on Kristaps Porzingis, and the way the kid is balling, who wouldn’t be?
“From what I’ve seen so far, looks pretty damn good,” Kobe Bryant said last week before the Lakers faced Porzingis and the Knicks at the Garden. “He’s skillful, can do a lot of things and he seems to be competitive, too. He has a good competitive spirit about him.”
Informed that Jackson, with whom Bryant won five championships in LA, had recently compared Porzingis to former Laker Pau Gasol, Bryant demurred.
“Pau?” Bryant said. “No. Wouldn’t be the first time me and Phil disagreed. Porzingis, from what I’ve seen, he seems more Dirk-like in terms of style of play more so than Pau.”
Bryant’s willingness to comment on Porzingas is a bit surprising considering his silence on “Russllgate,” the ongoing saga between the Los Angles Lakers rookie, D’Angelo Russell, taken two picks ahead of Porzingas, and the Lakers coach Byron Scott.
His new coach, Byron Scott, was so impressed with the No. 2 overall pick, he immediately compared the kid to Magic Johnson.
“The last guy I saw that, I played with, was Earvin, with knowing how to get guys in certain spots,” Scott said.
A month later, after Russell had spent the Las Vegas Summer League imitating a broke Midwestern tourist hanging out at a blackjack table at dawn, Scott offered a different sort of poignant evaluation.
“Let me make this very clear,” Scott said. “Russell is not Magic Johnson.”
So who would you rather have on your team, the next Gasol-Nowitzki hybrid or the next not-Magic Johnson? Not that Bryant is obligated to weigh in on the feud between coach and player, but he could be the voice of reason where there is none.