Those workouts have impressed Porzinigs’ bosses.
“We’re very pleased with his attitude, the way he approaches work, his appetite for it,” Knicks president Phil Jackson said of his top pick on Friday.
Added Derek Fisher: “[Porzingis] wants to work, he wants to get better, he wants to be here in New York City and part of what we’re doing. We don’t have to ask him to do anything. He’s essentially the first one [at the team’s practice facility] every morning at 7:30 a.m. He’s beaten me here a couple of times in the last couple of weeks. We think he’s going to do fine.”
One of Porzingis’ goals this offseason was to put on 15 pounds of muscle. He weighed around 230 pounds on draft night and there is concern that he will have difficulty against opposing frontcourt players due to his slight frame.
Porzingis had added 11 pounds of muscle as two weeks ago. His goal was to add four more by Tuesday.
"He’s been very receptive to the work it takes to become an NBA player, strength training, trying to bulk up and do all those things," Jackson said.
The Knicks president doesn’t believe Porzingis’ weight will be an issue later in his career. A conversation with Pau Gasol helped convince him of that.
Gasol told Jackson a few weeks ago not to “worry so much” about Porzingis’ weight. Gasol was 227 pounds in his first season in the NBA.
“He said he’s 255 or something now,” Jackson said. “He said he had to grow into his body. ... We understand [Porzingis is] probably still going to grow for the next five years just as a human being turning into his body. We’re trying to allow that process to grow and expedite what he can get done on his own. He’s a very willing participant."
The Knicks are trying to expedite the Porzingis’ weight gain via weight lifting and an increased diet. Porzingis has been lifting weights twice a day and eating at least 5,000 calories daily in the days leading up to camp.
He’s also used his time wisely, according to general manager Steve Mills. After a recent workout, Mills saw Porzingis watching something on his phone while sitting in a cold tub. Mills walked over to see what the seven-footer was viewing.
“He was watching Usain Bolt videos on running techniques,” a grinning Mills said on Friday. “He is that diligent in terms of trying to understand every aspect of his body, every aspect of getting better and stronger. He’s a unique guy in that regard and it will allow him to become the best player he can be.”