Eastern Notes: Porzingis, Raptors, Hawks

Kristaps Porzingis shooting ability has Knicks assistant coach Kurt Rambis comparing the lottery pick to Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reports. “He might be a combination of both of them just because he can do so many things,” Rambis told the team’s beat reporters on Monday. “You guys haven’t seen it yet and probably all of it won’t come out for three or four or five years, either. He’s got to grow up, mature, develop, get stronger, get used to the NBA game. But he already understands basketball.”  Rambis anticipates that opponents will have to craft their defensive gameplans around the team’s rookie power forward because of his “effortless 3-point range,” Bondy adds.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Raptors’ unheralded free agent signings of veteran power forward Luis Scola and center Bismack Biyombo could pay large dividends, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca opines. Both are expected to play key roles off Toronto’s bench, as coach Dwane Casey values Scola for his experience and durability while Biyombo could anchor the second unit’s defense, Lewenberg continues. “His [role] is to be our defensive captain,” Casey told Lewenberg. “I think his talking, his shot blocking, his protecting the rim is off the charts.”
  • Lamar Patterson has made a strong impression on his Hawks teammates as he battles for the 15th roster spot, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Kent Bazemore have all singled out Patterson as having an impressive camp, Vivlamore continues, but the 6’5” shooting guard faces competition from Terran Petteway, Earl Barron, DeQuan Jones, Edgar Sosa and Arsalan Kazemi.
  • Tobias Harris is showing better accuracy on 3-point attempts above the break, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. The Magic’s starting small forward became an above average 3-point shooter from the corners last season and wanted to improve in other areas around the arc, Robbins continues. He hit an above-the-break 3-pointer in the team’s preseason opener and showed that shot again in an open practice on Monday. “I think it’s a big weapon, and I think it’s only going to help our spacing on the court to extend that range out,” Harris said to Robbins. “It’s something that I’ve been working on all summer and I’m going to continue to work on.”

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