The post-up debate got started sometime in the second quarter of last nights Mavs-Spurs game when Chris Weber of the TNT telecast began criticizing Porzingis post-up skills, or lack thereof. Essentially saying Porzingis needs to starting posting up more and demand the ball when Luka isn’t in the game. He legit probably rambled on for a good six minutes about it.
Then at halftime, the TNT studio show (Shaq, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith) continued the theme, all saying Porzingis needs to step up his game and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be a 25 point, 12 rebound a game player. The crew also echoed Weber’s comments, saying Porzingis needs to play inside and post-up more, instead of hanging out at the perimeter.
It was a pretty easy night to pile up on Porzingis being that he had an absolutely dumpster fire of a game. He missed 11 of his first 15 shot attempts, and eight of his shot attempts were three-point shots, where he only made 3 of them.
After the game at the press conference, Mavs Coach, Rick Carlisle, addressed the criticism and officially declared the post-up dead:
“Let’s get off of all this stuff that KP needs to go in the post. He doesn’t. He doesn’t. I’m OK with him going in there once in a while, but we don’t post anybody. It’s nothing personal against him. Look, he’s used to doing it because they ran the triangle for two or three years when he was (with the Knicks). Who’s running the triangle now? Has anyone seen anyone running the triangle offense? The triple post? If you do, raise your hand, because I wanna see who you are. Because I haven’t seen it. Because that offense is extinct. Look, it went extinct when Phil Jackson retired. He’s the only one who ever had any success with it. He’s a genius and a master of it, but look, we’ve got to get off of this thing. We’ve got to treat KP with some respect. And respect him for what he is. He’s a historically great player. And quit criticizing him because he’s 7-3. That’s what everybody’s doing. I don’t care who it is. I don’t care if it’s people on TV or anything else. The thing I like about his game now, is his reads have gotten better… Porzingis is throwing some really good lob passes to [Dwight] Powell. I mean, you’ve got a 7’3” guy throwing to a 6’10” guy on a lob? That’s pretty f****** cool if you ask me.”
I never have really thought about it before but I think Carlisle is right. Maybe not in high school basketball where at 7 footer should post-up the ball every possession against a bunch of 5’10’-6 footers, but in the NBA, posting up is a strategy of a bygone era.
Sure there are still players who will do it (Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond) but for the most part it’s a dying breed.
I get it may seem counterintuitive to have a 7-foot-3 player shooting from long distance, stretching the floor and creating offense from the perimeter but that’s the NBA in 2019.
Now, the haters will still want to point to this stat:
But bottom line, Porzingis isn’t a post-up player. He never has been. It’s how he got the nickname the Unicorn.
When he does have an off night shooting, like last night, I get people will want to second guess his style of ball. Those haters though are awfully quiet on nights when he goes 12-20 and puts up 30+ points. Because those nights do happen.
Official take: The post-up is dead. It was a hell of a run too. So, don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened: