The three-point revolution has taken the NBA to uncharted places. Teams these days are prioritizing defensive mobility on the perimeter as a result. After all, three points are worth more than two. Big men who can’t consistently keep up with sharpshooters on the perimeter can be easily exploited. However, Boston Celtics center Luke Kornet has found a way to make himself useful on the defensive end amid today’s three-point happy NBA, and Washington Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis is finding that Kornet’s unorthodox ways may be more effective than it first seems.
The 7’2 Kornet has popularized a new kind of contest aptly named the “Kornet Contest”. In this type of shot contest, the Celtics big man jumps as high as he could while using his 7’6 wingspan to disrupt three-point shooters from afar. There were plenty who called the effectiveness of this defense into question. Nonetheless, Kristaps Porzingis, an even taller big man in his own right, is an ardent believer.
“I actually works, yeah. I mean, we don’t have a lot of examples, but as much as we have, while Kornet’s been doing it, it’s been working. So, we’re trying it also. I don’t know what our numbers are, but at least from my feeling on the court, I feel like they have missed a bunch of threes when I have done the Kornet jump. So, I’ll keep doing it,” Porzingis said, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.
It may be effective given how new this phenomenon is. Shooters are used to defenders closing out on their airspace more so than their sight lines being blocked. Thus, there’s stronger merit to Luke Kornet’s ridiculous closeouts than initially thought.
Moreover, it prevents the lumbering big men such as Kristaps Porzingis from getting blown by. And it’s not as if they’re doing the Kornet Contest against truly elite marksmen. Perhaps this is the necessary evolution for slow big men to improve their career lifespan.