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Stephen A. Smith Quickly Changed His Pre-Draft Takes On European Players Like Luka Doncic And Kristaps Porzingis After They Balled Out In The NBA And Proved Him Wrong

Stephen A. Smith Quickly Changed His Pre-Draft Takes On European Players Like Luka Doncic And Kristaps Porzingis After They Balled Out In The NBA And Proved Him Wrong

European players in the NBA have long suffered from the label and stereotype of being called soft. Players that many expect will not be able to compete with the best American athletes. But the game became global a long time ago, and the newest generation of European superstars is proving any remaining doubters wrong in style. 

The last 4 MVPs have been won by a European player, Giannis Antetokounmpo claiming 2 and Nikola Jokic claiming 2. Luka Doncic looks set to win a couple of his own, and his former teammate Kristaps Porzingis has shown All-Star potential when healthy. One of the people the latter two have proved wrong in particular is analyst Stephen A. Smith, whose takes on these players before they got drafted and after they balled out in the NBA make for an entertaining watch. 

Stephen A. on Luka Doncic (pre-draft): "I don't give a damn about how this kid in Europe looks. I understand he's a 6'8 point guard, he's surreal, he'll probably be the No. 2 overall pick... You have to take DeAndre Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick."

Stephen A. on Luka Doncic (during his rookie season): "Wanna see the Rookie Of The Year? It ain't Deandre Ayton... It's this kid Luka Doncic, that's who it is. The Rookie Of The Year. This kid is special. This kid is sensational."

His take on Porzingis is even more passionate, considering that Smith is a self-proclaimed New York Knicks fan, and that's the team that drafted KP. 

"Stephen A. on Kristaps Porzingis (right after the draft): "As a native New Yorker, I am completely disgusted with this pick... Because when you talk about Phil Jackson picking this individual, you're talking about a project. Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks passed up on 4 dudes who are NBA-ready now... You did this because of some dude who may or may not be ready in 2 years."

Stephen A. on Kristaps Porzingis (during the season): "I'm very encouraged by this guy. Phil Jackson is looking better day by day... I like what I'm seeing from him, I'm pleasantly surprised."

There is no shame in changing your mind on a situation after being presented with the facts. However, if Stephen A. Smith simply stops making these outlandish claims about European players, it might save him from some of this embarrassment. In any case, international players  continue to take strides forward every season, and the game of basketball is one that is starting to become truly global.