What’s the difference between last season and this season for the big Lativan in the post?
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This early into the season, it is hard to tell what is real and what is a reflection of sample size. One thing we do know for certain is Kristaps Porzingis has taken over the Knicks’ offense from the departed Carmelo Anthony. And he is doing so, mostly, in the post. The 7’3″ Unicorn, known for his perimeter play as much as his inside touch, has increased his post-up frequency by 150 percent compared to last season.
Kristaps is not only shooting more often from the post, he is taking a different approach. A major change in Porzingis’ post attack through the first seven games of this season is the direction he turns to take his shot. Last year, he showed a strong preference for turning toward the baseline, whether on the left block, turning with his right shoulder, or on the right block, turning with his left shoulder. On the right block, this makes sense. Most players, with their back to the basket, will fake with their strong shoulder and turnaround to shoot the opposite way, allowing their strong hand to be in better position to shoot over the defender.
This season, Porzingis has shown a preference in turning with his right shoulder, whether on the left or right block. No longer is he focused on shimmying toward the baseline. In fact, his most efficient shooting, thus far, has come when turning toward the paint (7-of-10). Something that was true last year on the left block, where he had his best success turning into the paint (with his left shoulder).
Whether this explains Porzingis’ improved efficiency from the post, it’s hard to say. But the numbers are starting to show a trend. Last year, Porzingis shot 13-for-52 from the right block. Those numbers have been far better this year (9-of-15), mainly because of his improved efficiency turning with his right shoulder on the right block.
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