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Suns rookie Dragan Bender wants to be himself, not ‘next Kristaps Porzingis’

The comparison was inevitable.

A year after the New York Knicks struck gold drafting Kristaps Porzingis in the lottery, another 7-foot European skilled big man is getting compared to, and sometimes referred to, as “the next Porzingis.”

Phoenix Suns rookie Dragan Bender would rather make a name for himself though.

“There are some similarities,” Bender told USA Today’s, Larry Berger. “We are both European guys, 7-footers coming from overseas to the NBA. And we both can shoot the ball and move well for the position.

“It’s great that people compare you to a guy like him, but I’m just trying to be myself on the court.”

It’s a lot to live up to if he’s going to be as productive as Porzingis was last year as a rookie. Maybe Bender can pull it off, but it would be unfair to only look at how Bender stacks up to Porzingis when determining whether he’s a success or not.

Bender seems like he has a pretty grounded approach entering his first season in the NBA and that should go a long way in easing the transition.

“Just to go through the rookie season and gain some experience with playing with these guys on the same level and being competitive,” Bender said. “The rookie season is hard for everybody, but you just need to adjust yourself as quickly as you can.”

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