Kristaps Porzingis gets advice from Phil: 'He can help me with everything'

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- A few minutes after Saturday's practice, Carmelo Anthony and Jose Calderon shot free throws on one basket while Robin Lopez worked with assistant coach Kurt Rambis near another. Arron Afflalo was close by, shooting free throws on his own.

It's fairly common to see players huddled with members of the New York Knicks coaching staff or shooting free throws after practice.

But one post-practice tutorial stood out from the others on Saturday.

Near a back wall of the Knicks facility, Phil Jackson huddled with prized rookie Kristaps Porzingis and talked X's and O's.

What was discussed isn't exactly clear, but Jackson seemed to be talking to the rookie about the proper way to hold the ball when after receiving a pass.

Porzingis appreciated the advice. The rookie says Jackson is "always there, around, always helping with little details, telling me stuff."

"Who's a better mentor, a better coach than Phil Jackson?" he adds. "It's the best place for me to be in now, alongside with him. He can help me with everything."

Many questioned Jackson's decision to take Porzingis with the No. 4 pick back in June, but it seems so far that the Knicks president hit a home run with the pick.

Porzingis will enter Sunday's game against the Houston Rockets averaging 13.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. He ranks third among rookies in per-game scoring and second in per-game rebounding. Perhaps more importantly, Porzingis has provided hope for a fan base desperately in need of some.

It's interesting, if not surprising, that Jackson has taken an active role in advising Porzingis and other Knicks. It's unclear how much time Jackson spent around players last season but one Knick told his friends that he rarely interacted with the team president. This year, the same can't be said of Jackson.

"We see him around all the time," Porzingis said.

The rookie added that Jackson "lets Coach [Derek] Fisher do all the work, but then he comes up to guys and tells little details about the offense, something maybe that all the other coaches didn't see. Phil's always there and he sees other things, and he's very helpful for me. He's always telling me little details and helping me with the game."

Here's one example of the advice Jackson's offered Porzingis.

"He was telling me just about the triangle, how to do certain things a little better, just little details (about) where to be all the time," Porzingis said. "He's very specific, and that's what made him win 11 championships -- all the little details. To get that advice almost every day from him, it's huge for me."