“The first conversation we had, I was in the training room. He came in with his shirt off, and I was like, ‘Oh man, you’ve been working out.’…. And we kept on talking, and he just got so intense, like he really feels it. He was like, ‘Yeah, man, this is a big opportunity; we’ve got to give it our all.’"
Porzingis relayed the story on Saturday after hosting a youth camp in Westchester.
“That’s the type of guy that we want on our team,” Porzingis said of Noah. “He brings that good energy. He brings that spirit, you know? So from the first opportunity that we got to talk, I fell in love with [his intensity].”
The Knicks hope that their fan base has the same adulation for Noah this year. Knicks president Phil Jackson signed Noah to a four-year, $72 million deal, betting that he can bounce back from shoulder injuries that limited him to 29 games last season.
With Noah on the roster, it seems as if Porzingis’ minutes at center this year will be limited to the second unit, as they were for much of last season. Many see Porzingis as a full-time center at some point in his career. Whether that is the best position for Porzingis full-time is debatable.
Porzingis would likely have to add some weight to play center full-time. He’ll enter training camp at around 240 pounds this season; he weighed between 233-235 pounds entering camp last year.
“I got a little bigger, [but] that wasn’t the main focus this summer,” Porzingis said. “It was just getting stronger and not so much bigger, although when you get stronger, it’s natural you gain weight. I want to make sure I’m comfortable at the weight.”
Looking forward to pick-and-roll play: First-year Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek plans to increase the Knicks’ pace and pick-and-roll plays while keeping the triangle offense as a base in half-court sets. Porzingis believes pick-and-roll opportunities are going to help him.
“Pick-and-roll situations, pick-and-pop, guys are going to expect me to pop, and then I can roll and then switch it up. And it’s going to be really good,” he said, adding that he and Hornacek have talked in detail about the offense. “I’m sure they’re going to put me in a situation where I can be effective for the team.”
Porzingis added that he has been working on his post offense over the summer, which is a staple of the triangle offense.
“If that’s what the coaches want, I’ll play in the post. I feel more and more comfortable everyday because I’ve been working on my post game and getting stronger,” he said. “So If that’s what they want me to do, if that’s where they see me more effective, then I’ll do that. But it just depends on how we’re better -- from me shooting more from the outside or getting in more.”
It will be interesting to see how much of the offense Hornacek changes in his first season, particularly when it comes to triangle usage. Some players last season were down on the offense because of its slow pace and predictive nature, sources said.