Scott Roth Rumors
Europeans carry a reputation among NBA coaches of playing with more guile and teamwork. Porzingis hasn’t looked like a basketball Einstein since December. Porzingis admitted he has “to be smarter’’ in bracing for double coverage. Scott Roth, who coached Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Herangomez in Spain, made a revealing remark during the All-Star break last year. “People are more surprised by Willy, but I’ve always said Willy was an overall better basketball player at the age Kristaps was, as far as feel for the game and how he moves and passes,’’ Roth told me.
30 Aug 17
But that was before he met Audie Norris, a former Spanish League champion who is widely considered the best American big man to ever play professional basketball in Europe. Norris was hired in early 2014 by Sevilla, where he and former NBA player and coach Scott Roth played an integral role in Porzingis’ development. “A lot of times, basketball is destiny,” Norris told SB Nation. “Scott and I came in at the right time for Kristaps’ career. He’s had some really good coaches, but Kris never had anybody that would really could talk to him about NBA life from a professional standpoint.”
Though the NBA is becoming more perimeter-oriented, true superstar bigs are able to balance their games with an inside attack. Norris knew it was crucial for Porzingis to diversify his game. “It wasn’t easy for him to adapt those moves because it wasn’t part of his daily routine, but Kris is a sponge,” Norris said. “Whatever he learns, he stays working. He’ll always try to find a way to make it work for him. He never really played with his back to the basket, so I told him, ‘we’re gonna work on three moves: the jump hook, the turnaround jump shot off the glass, and the shoulder fake jumper, and from there we built combinations.'”