Porzingis’ Rise to Stardom a Reminder of How Much Lakers Have to Learn

LOS ANGELES — Before Sunday night, when he combined a unicorn's speed, an octopus' reach and Allan Houston's shooting touch to lead the New York Knicks to a 118-112 victory at Staples Center, Kristaps Porzingis had on one other occasion played on a court bearing the Los Angeles Lakers' purple and gold.

It was a private predraft Lakers workout in 2015, and the Lakers went into it legitimately tempted to believe Porzingis was worth their No. 2 overall pick.

Porzingis had just dazzled all 30 teams' scouts, including Lakers executives Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak, with a showcase workout in Las Vegas. Porzingis went from Vegas to Los Angeles to see if he could seal the deal with the Lakers through a private showing at their training facility.

Obviously, he did not.

And the reason, according to league sources, is an interesting truth to bear in mind as the Lakers try to refashion themselves as a younger, more open-minded organization led by Luke Walton, the most youthful and inspiring head coach in the NBA.

Old-school thinking.   

Father Time waits for no man, as the Lakers reluctantly accepted in bidding farewell to Kobe Bryant after last season. And that inevitable aging applies even in management, as Knicks president Phil Jackson appears to be demonstrating with each out-of-touch remark he makes.

And though Lakers management has not been as disconnected from the modern NBA in word, they were in deed, especially when Porzingis walked into their gym before the 2015 draft.

Kupchak structured Porzingis' private Lakers workout as essentially a challenge of his manhood rather than a validation of his gifts.

In doing so, the Lakers lost sight of how truly unique this 7'3" player could be, with skills at a size already forcing the NBA to adjust to him rather than vice versa.

The Lakers, though, wanted to test Porzingis' physicality, and es...

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