<
>

Kristaps Porzingis adding post moves to help the Knicks' triangle offense

Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

Kristaps Porzingis has worked on several aspects of his game this summer, including his play in the post -- a pivotal aspect of the New York Knicks' triangle offense.

“Everybody wants to see me play better in the post, that’s one thing that’s going to help us in the triangle so I’m adding moves to my post game,” he said in an interview with Anthony Donahue on The Stashed’s “33rd and 7th” podcast.

“I’m really working on staying low [on drives]. I’m working on my strength, especially my legs. That’s going to help me defensively as well.”

That work started for Porzingis shortly after the season, during sessions with his brother Janis in their home country of Latvia. It has continued in the United States over the summer as Porzingis prepares for his second NBA season. He said on Donahue’s podcast that he knows expectations from Knicks fans will be higher for him this season.

“I’m expecting a lot from myself as well,” he said. “It’s going to be a really important season for me.

"I’ve got to stay really locked in and do what we have to do next season, that’s making the playoffs.”

The Knicks have missed the playoffs for the past three seasons, but there is optimism among players, coaches and executives that the club can snap that streak this year. That optimism, of course, is based on the idea that new signees Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Brandon Jennings remain healthy in 2016-17. All three players have dealt with major injuries in recent seasons.

Porzingis has worked out with Jennings, Rose and Sasha Vujacic in Los Angeles this offseason and, naturally, he’s looking forward to taking the court with his new teammates.

“They looked in pretty good shape ... they looked like their ready to play right now,” Porzingis said. “I could tell the guys are already locked in.”

He added: “I’m really happy with all of the moves that we made, and I think we got a lot better this offseason. Just seeing all the guys that we bring in, the talent that we have now, we have to have the mentality that we have to do bigger things than we did last season. We have to be a much better team.”

Porzingis knows that his development as a player will help dictate the team’s success this season, to a degree. If you ask Porzingis, he’ll tell you that he’s looking to improve all facets of his game. One area to keep an eye on, according to Phil Jackson, is Porzingis’ shot form and selection. Over the course of last season, the Knicks president was vocal about both aspects of Porzingis’ game.

“As I grow as a player we’ll be better as a team,” he said. “And I realize that and I know how much better I have to get to help the team win.”

Also, Porzingis' work in the post is further evidence -- in case you needed any -- that the Knicks will be running a version of the triangle offense under Jeff Hornacek. The offense fell out of favor with some Knicks over the last two seasons due to its slow pace and what they perceived as a predictable movements. But Hornacek plans to increase the Knicks' overall pace by being aggressive in transition and getting into the halfcourt offense quickly.

He also has told players that he'll implement more pick-and-roll into the half-court triangle sets. The tweaks to the offense will be something worth keeping an eye on all season long in New York.