The NBA rookie class this year has become one of the most notable batches in the league's history. In fact, the 2015 class is now being compared to the glorious 2003 batch. The latter group was composed of NBA greats including Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James and Miami Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Even New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony came from the same class. The 2003 NBA rookie class also included James Jones, Boris Diaw, and Leandro Barbosa. The top five picks from this group were all part of the NBA All-Star as well as won MVP awards. Hence, the King James-led group undoubtedly stood out above the batches that came before and after them.
However, it looks like the 2015 batch is proving to be a promising match to the Wade group. The entry of Kristaps Porzingis, Justise Winslow, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okaford generated excitement from the NBA community. With retirement talks surrounding Wade, Bosh, Anthony and James, it comes as no surprise that the said rookies are eyed as the next NBA legends.
"I mean, people were kind of saying the past drafts, and no disrespect to everyone that were in those drafts, but they were saying they were kind of down years," commented Bosh, according to the Washington Post. The Miami Heat star added, "You can see the excitement with the guys coming in with this class, and they're living up to it. They're doing a great job. As the season goes on, it'll get tougher and tougher, but you can definitely see the potential and the upside in a lot of these guys."
While Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves is the top draft pick this year, the NBA community appears to be enamored by the success of Porzingis. The Latvian basketball star is the fourth overall draft pick. When the New York Knicks opted to sign the lanky European star, fans of the NBA team did not mince words on their disappointment over the decision. Some supporters of the Anthony-led squad even voiced out that Winslow could have been a way better option than Porzingis. Meanwhile, others merely echoed their frustration by booing as the rookie was introduced by the New York Knicks.
With how the NBA season is turning out, however, it looks like even the most critical fan is backtracking on the negative comments against Porzingis.
"That begins in New York at Madison Square Garden, where Porzingis has arguably become the most relevant NBA player at the moment who isn't named Kobe Bryant or Stephen Curry," noted Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post.
For his part, Porzingis shared that he simply does what he is instructed to accomplish. He shared, "But for me, I knew I was going to, every time I stepped on the floor, just try to do my best, whatever the coach asked me to, and contribute to the team as a rookie."
Meanwhile, Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki also voiced out his opinion on Porzingis. The center shared via ESPN, "Every tall European now who comes over and can shoot is going to be compared to me, but he looks like he's for real. I mean, he's just 20 years old. He's got a lot of ways to go, but the upside this kid has been just tremendous." Incidentally, Nowitzki is the childhood idol of Porzingis.
"Everything I've seen so far, he's incredible," the Dallas Mavericks star shared. Nowitzki went on to state, "Not only the shooting touch, I think he's a lot tougher than people thought. He's long. He's a really, really good rebounder already on both ends of the floor. I mean, to me, sometimes what separates players is a lot of guys have the deep ball or the drive all the way to the basket, but he's already shown he's got the midrange, that one or two dribbles and up. He's got that in his repertoire already. I think the sky's the limit."