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Basketball

Kristaps Porzingis Passes on Chance to Criticize Knicks

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Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks

Sigh. It was but four years ago that Kristaps Porzingis was sitting in a ballroom at the Westin Hotel in Manhattan whimsically imagining life as a New York Knick. The draft was to be held the following day, leaving Porzingis to spend this warm Wednesday morning in June imagining the possibility of going to the Knicks, owners of the fourth pick.

“It’s my dream, play for the Knicks,” he said.

Of course, Porzingis’ dream turned nightmare last February when he was out with a torn ACL, feuded both publicly and behind the scenes with the front office and finally was dealt away to Dallas at the trade deadline.

On Instagram, Porzingis warned Knicks fans to, “STAY WOKE.”

On Friday, Porzingis has his chance to take out some frustration on his one-time “dream” team as the Knicks visit Dallas. He also had the chance, a day ahead of the matchup, to lob some verbal hand grenades New York’s way when he met with reporters.

Perhaps, at 1-7, Porzingis felt a tinge of sympathy for his bumbling former team. Or maybe he just went back to those dreamy days just ahead of the draft. Whatever it was, when it came time to lash out at New York, Porzingis just shrugged and took the high road.

“It definitely wasn’t the way I wanted it to happen,” he told reporters. “But there wasn’t really other ways how to do it. Then I put out—with all the emotions going on when I got traded in that moment, I put out some stupid Instagram stories when I was laying in my bed at night, like, ‘Man, I got traded.’ We all make mistakes. It wasn’t that perfect and there was no smooth way out of that, I think.”


Porzingis Still Fitting in With Surging Mavericks

If living well is the best revenge, then Porzingis didn’t really need to take shots at the lowly Knicks, not when he is playing alongside a full-blown star in Luka Doncic and not when the Mavericks are 5-2 with a genuine shot at the playoffs.

The only regret Porzingis has now is that he’s not personally playing better, as he is still shaking off rust from his ACL recovery. Before this season, Porzingis had not played since February 2, 2018. He had a hot start in his first three games (26.3 points) but has struggled to maintain that. In his last four games, he has shot 36.2 percent and averaged only 13.5 points.

He is averaging 2.3 turnovers on the season, a career high.

“I’ve had some decent moments already,” Porzingis told reporters. “But it’s a mix of a lot of things that are new for me and that are there for me to figure out. I have to get the feel back. I have to get it back. How many times they hit the ball out of my hands and things that I have to be aware of those situations. The spots that I’m getting to, to get my shots are not maybe the usual spots that I was getting used to when I played in New York.”

Porzingis is taking just 11.4 percent of his shots within three feet, according to Basketball-Reference.com. In his Knicks career, he was taking 19.3 percent of his shots at close range, where he is an excellent finisher. Porzingis is hoping that will change as he gets back into Dallas’ offensive flow.

“Now it’s been 20 months since I played basketball the last time,” he said. “So it’s a mix of a lot of things. It’s in my hands to figure it out and get out of this moment right here. It’s frustrating. I try not to beat myself up too much about it, but I’m the first person that wants to get out of this moment that I’m in.”

READ NEXT: Rockets’ Blowout Loss to Heat May Be ‘Last Straw’ for Mike D’Antoni


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