Dragan Bender looks to be “Myself” in NBA, not Kristaps Porzingis

As a 7-foot shooter from a European league, there aren’t many players to compare Dragan Bender to besides Kristaps Porzingis.

Comparing Bender to a 2015 First-Team All-Rookie may be looked at as setting the bar high, but it’s really not. Both of these players have a very similar style of play.

As 7-footers with a pure shot and ball skills, these two stand in a class of their own within the NBA. Bender may see the similarities, but he doesn’t necessarily like being compared to others.

“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.”

Bender may have been the most potential-based draft pick in 2016. Coming in with little success in Europe, and as the youngest player in the draft. But that isn’t stopping him from fulfilling his NBA dream.

“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.”

Like he said on draft night, “When you start to play basketball, you always dream of that moment when you become part of the NBA organization.” Well, he’s here and he’s ready to make some noise.

Being compared to Porzingis isn’t a bad thing. The New York Knick averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as a rookie. If those are numbers Bender can produce during his first NBA season than the Phoenix Suns should be thrilled.

He has a lot of improving to do before he can create those type of numbers, but with the promise he has it should fall into place.

Over the next several months, Bender will be faced with proving to the NBA world that he is the player many believe he will be. He needs to improve his physicality significantly and rebounding ability. If these aspects of his game improve, he could be better than his comparison Porzingis.