With 13 games remaining in his rookie season, Kristaps Porzingis wants to finish strong and carry momentum into next season.
The New York Knicks’ rookie phenom has been inconsistent of late, and it's understandable. The 20-year-old is going through the rigors of his first NBA season, one in which he also experienced his first coaching change.
Porzingis had one of his worst games of the season on Wednesday, missing 10 of 11 shots and scoring only two points in a 121-85 loss at Golden State. So he wants to make sure the final month is one he can look back on this summer with positive memories.
“I try to go game by game,” Porzingis told reporters after the Golden State rout about finishing his rookie season strong. “I had a decent game against the Clippers. That is the level I want to play at.
“Today was a bad one again. … Now I am just trying to focus on the next game and go game by game and hopefully finish the season strong.”
Porzingis scored 23 points and was 10-of-11 from the foul line against the Clippers last Friday. But he missed last Sunday’s game against the Lakers because of a stomach illness, which could have affected his play against Golden State.
In three of his last seven games, Porzingis has failed to reach double figures in points. The rookie was asked if the firing of Derek Fisher and switch to Kurt Rambis in early February might’ve affected him more than expected.
“We are basically playing the same [offense],” Porzingis said. “Kurt makes different decisions and subs differently. It is basically the same thing. My minutes have changed a little bit. They want me to be on the floor for maybe a shorter time but be more intense and active. My job stays the same, so same thing.”
“Kurt is a really good coach too,” Porzingis added. “It is more us. We are professional. … I [also] can’t say anything bad about coach Fisher. He did a good job. They [Fisher and Rambis] are different but you can learn from both.”
Porzingis wants to rediscover his strong play from earlier in the season. His first NBA season has tested him mentally and physically.
“It is a tough schedule for sure,” Porzingis said. “It is a short period. Those five-and-a-half regular-season months, you really need to be locked in and give it your all. I don’t want to finish the season with regret and then have five months of offseason work. I want to give it my all.”