Yet it was also fair to guess that Porzingis's bosses would not make his adjustment to the NBA game even more difficult by trotting out extreme comparisons before he had even played an official game. Team president Phil Jackson compared Porzingis to notorious dunk victim Shawn Bradley several week ago, which caused the player himself to comment that he is committed to adding lower and upper body strength and will not wilt against tougher opponents.
To be fair, Rambis also mentioned that Porzingis will need to adjust to the NBA game — the article is largely about why someone who turned 20 years old in August could be best served coming off the bench as a rookie. Nevertheless, talking up a young, largely unknown European prospect as if he were the love child of two Hall of Famers smacks of the same faulty logic that caused names like "Tskitishvili" and "Darko" to become curse words. The comparison sets up Porzingis for failure, because there is no way that he will be the Dirkau Nowitsol hybrid that it suggests. That player would be the most complete big man that the NBA had ever seen, European or not.
It's common to blame the fate of a draft bust on the player himself, but team fit can often contribute just as much as the athlete's own deficiencies. Professional success depends on too many factors to blame everything on the player in question. For instance, imagine what might have happened to Carmelo Anthony if he had been drafted at No. 2 in 2003 by a Detroit Pistons team already reliant on Tayshuan Prince and Richard Hamilton. Would Melo have become a star? Or would he be remembered as the young kid whose growing pains kept the Pistons from competing for a title and/or picking up a much-needed power forward at the deadline (you know, like Rasheed Wallace)? Conversely, what if Darko Milicic had ended up with a team that would have allowed him to develop on his own time? He may not have become a star, but he also could have worked his way into a much better career.
I don't mention this tendency to claim that Porzingis will absolutely fail with the Knicks, because that would be just as irresponsible as saying he's all the best parts of two future Hall of Famers. But the stakes are high for the Knicks at this moment, particularly as they attempt to sell fans (and themselves) on what should be a lengthy rebuilding process. It will take time and require maintaining sensible level of expectations from season to season. Due to his draft position, Porzingis now occupies an important spot in this process.
So why put him in a position to fail when we don't even know what he'll do in an NBA context? Even his Dirk Nowitzki struggled as a rookie.