The moment 7’3 Kristaps Porzingis‘ highlight tape began being passed around by NBA fans ahead of the 2015 NBA Draft, there was one comparison that was unavoidable. The lanky sharp-shooting Latvian was immediately dubbed the next Dirk Nowitzki, which was a significant thing to pin on Porzingis, since Dirk is the greatest international player of all-time.
While there is often a tendency to lazily compare prospects to someone who looks like them — international white players to other international white players, especially — there were some legitimate similarities between the two. Nowitzki is a lethal shooter from the perimeter and mid-range, which has made him almost impossible to defend because of his length.
Porzingis has similar qualities, although he isn’t as consistent a shooter as Nowitzki.
What also helped the comparisons was Porzingis being very open about his love of Dirk’s game and how he modeled much of his work on the perimeter after the German legend. There are plenty of differences between the two as well, most notably Porzingis’ athleticism and bounce which is far greater than anything Nowitzki has ever possessed.