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The Lakers reportedly passed on Kristaps Porzingis because he didn’t impress them in a private workout

This will go over well.

NBA: New York Knicks at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers find themselves in a good spot in terms of this complete rebuild, yet one can’t watch what Kristaps Porzingis has done in New York and not wonder what might’ve been. Here’s the thing, though: Very few people actually saw this coming, and hindsight being 20/20 has given folks the freedom to knock the Lakers for passing on the relatively unknown prospect to instead draft D’Angelo Russell second overall.

So while piling on those who did or said stupid things during the draft process is fun, maybe we should collectively pump the breaks and remember what it was like when Porzingis’ being drafted actually made a kid cry.

With the Knicks in town Sunday night to take on the Lakers, we got an opportunity to watch Porzingis do all the things that have people raving about his game. What’s followed since is a retroactive and extended pat on the back for Phil Jackson, and just as thorough takedown of anyone who dared wonder what Porzingis might be. Take this tidbit from Kevin Ding’s column that ran Monday about a private workout Porzingis gave the Lakers.

The Lakers, though, wanted to test Porzingis' physicality, and especially his "bigness," in that workout. They overvalued Porzingis' need to prove he could play in the low post and wrongly equated his shaky stamina with his overall NBA readiness.

Lakers assistant coach Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen, notorious for physical play in his 2000-09 NBA career, was pushed on Porzingis in the workout. To put it in preschool-level terms, the workout looked a lot like Big Bird being pushed all around the court by his dinosaur-ish friend Snuffleupagus.

Then-Lakers head coach Byron Scott, whose outdated mindsets have been well documented, even joked with Lakers staffers after watching Porzingis wilt with exhaustion that Scott had better get a contract extension if the club decided to draft Porzingis and wait for him to grow up.

Look, I’m all for giving Byron Scott a hard time for doing and saying stupid stuff. It’s kind of a hobby of mine. But there are so many better example of him doing so to point to that we shouldn’t have to reach as we are here. We can also high-five each other for the fact that Scott didn’t get the extension he alluded to. To paint a picture in which we vilify him for wondering how long it might take for Porzingis to impact an NBA game, however, is a leap in logic I simply am not comfortable making.

Porzingis has been great. Russell has had a fun start to his career in Los Angeles. Both those statements can be and actually are true. This desire to make everything an either/or comparison is easily the most frustrating aspect of how we watch sports, and, frankly, I’m holding out hope we leave that tradition in 2016 at the turn of the new year.

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