When was the last time a Knicks lottery pick inspired as much excitement as Latvian giant Krapsnaps Bazingas, this past summer’s fourth overall pick? Can you recall? I can’t. Probably that is because the last truly excellent player the trash-ass Knicks took in the lottery was Patrick Ewing, 30 years ago.

(Gallo doesn’t count. He was injured all the time and then they traded him and the entire rest of the team for Melo right when he’d finally begun to break through.)

I was skeptical of Krapsnaps at first. NBA fans have been burned by giant, overhyped European teens before; everybody remembers Darko Miličić, and people were pretty damn pumped about Jan Veselý, too, even before he memorably planted one on his pretty girlfriend in the 2011 draft. He’s like Europe’s Blake Griffin! they said, but he was more like Europe’s Marc Iavaroni. Over his career, Blake Griffin has averaged around 22 points per 36 minutes of play. Veselý averaged 32 points per month. He plays in Turkey now.

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Krapsnaps might be the genuine article, though! So last night’s buzzer-beater didn’t count—the 15 boards and two blocks sure as hell did. This calm, confident, smooth little take (0:50 in the below video if it doesn’t start there) was real as hell:

Video via Defaltz Highlights on YouTube


That’s a 7-foot-3 20-year-old, for chrissakes. It might not look like much, but it’s a terrific bucket, man. Using that first pivot to size up the court and see how far he is from the spot he wants to shoot from; taking those three confident, straight-to-the-point dribbles to get there; and then dropping in that soft little turnaround from way up in the ozone layer where poor little Marvin Williams can’t contest it, rather than trying to bash himself all the way to the rim or taking some crazy running hook à la Dwight Howard—that’s a Dirk bucket! It’s a Tim Duncan bucket! Kendrick Perkins, the world’s first wooden dumptruck, has been in the NBA for 13 years and he couldn’t replicate that bucket in an empty gym without committing four offensive fouls, dribbling the ball off his shoe, and elbowing someone in the neck.

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Of course Krapsnaps is not Dirk or Tim Duncan or Anthony Davis or Boogie Cousins yet, or maybe ever. He can do some stuff, sure, but he’s still a raw kid on a team with Melo, which means he still mostly has to get his by cleaning up the scraps. The nice thing about being taller than the General Sherman, though, and having some decent bounce to go with all that height, is that sometimes Bazingas can just stick those endless arms up above his head, hop, and yam on three dudes at the same time:

Video via NBA on YouTube


Or on LaMarcus Aldridge’s head:

Video via NBA on YouTube


This one, against the Bucks, is just goddamn disgusting:

Video via NBA on YouTube


Mean. Or how about this steal, spin, and dunk, from a 7-foot-3 20-year-old:

Video via NBA on YouTube


These already are more genuine, real-deal, non-garbage-time highlights than Miličić, Jan Veselý, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, and Andrea Bargnani produced in their entire damn NBA careers put together, and Krapsnaps has been at it for all of nine games. It’s not a fluke! He’s good. He’s probably good.

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More importantly, he’s fun. That roar he gave, after the putback against the Bucks; the mean mug when he buried the (overturned on review, sure, shut up) game-winner against the Hornets—this is wonderful. I don’t think anyone alive would have prescribed six vertical miles of cocky, rail-thin Latvian doofus as the thing either the Knicks or the NBA needed, but damn if both aren’t improved immeasurably as entertainment products by the addition. I don’t even give a shit about the Knicks, and I can’t fucking wait for them to host LeBron and the Cavs on Friday night—to see Krapsnaps close out on stubby li’l Kevin Love, stretch himself out like a mainsail unfurled into a gale, and tip a three-pointer over the scoreboard. It’s like Linsanity, only you knew Linsanity wouldn’t last—he was a 24-year-old itinerant, thriving with near-total domination of the ball in the absence of Melo and Amar’e Stoudemire—and Krapsnapsteria might.

It’s almost—almost—enough to make you happy for Knicks fans, who finally have an actual by-god yung cock of their own to swoon over after years of the organization pissing its draft choices down the drain for the next blank-faced un-transcendent 29-year-old. On the other hand ...

Video via YouTube


... fuck Knicks fans. I hope Phil Jackson trades Krapsnaps to the Kings for Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo.

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Top photo via AP


Contact the author at albert.burneko@deadspin.com or on Twitter @albertburneko.