Rookie Diary, Volume 8: Kristaps Porzingis

 

Apr 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) on the sidelines during a time out during the first quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Kristaps Porzingis was forced to sit out down the stretch of his rookie season with a strained right shoulder.

Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers will alternate on a weekly diary for NBA.com covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off.

This week: Porzingis discusses his 2015-16 season and plans for the summer.

I think the transition went pretty smooth. Obviously it’s different once you start playing in the NBA. There’s so much attention and everything, but I think it went pretty smooth. It was more difficult for me moving from Latvia to Spain when I was 14, 15 years old than the move now when I moved from Spain to the United States.

That’s the best feeling, that you actually feel comfortable and you feel like you belong there. I think I found that place. It took me a lot longer, for example, when I moved to Spain to feel comfortable and feel like I really wanted to be there. But here in New York, it was right from the beginning. I just felt like this is the place where I want to be for however long my career is. I really feel comfortable in New York and I hope to stay there for a long time.

As far as this season, the atmosphere with my teammates was better than I expected. I was not surprised, but it was nice to see that all of them were really good teammates and good guys that helped me out right from the beginning. Having that was really important for me, just to get adjusted to everything easier. That was one positive right from the start.

My debut was definitely a highlight. The first game. We played against Milwaukee. It was a dream come true for me to step on an NBA floor and we got the win and I had a decent game. It was really a special moment for me.

All-Star weekend was a big moment for me too. I was able to have that weekend with my family. That would be up there.

The No. 1 thing going to the next season will be me knowing what the schedule is like, how tough it is, those 82 games during the season and how well prepared you’ve got to be that schedule. That’s now one thing that I’ll be ready for.

The schedule is just way different in Europe. You play one game a week and you have the whole week to rest, you have the whole week to recover. Here it might be four games in a week. It’s a crazy schedule. That probably was the biggest adjustment for me. And the ball is a little different. The rules are a little different. There’s no three seconds in the paint on defense in Europe and they have that here. Those are the little things I had to think about at the beginning of the season to not get those called during the season.

I’m probably going to stay here in New York for the next few weeks. We have some team activities. I’m going to keep working on my shoulder to recover 100 percent. I don’t really know what to expect after that. It’s my first year. But I’ll definitely stay a while in New York. It’s like my home now basically.

For the most part I’m going to be in New York. I’ll go home with my family, back home in Latvia, and hopefully I can be really away from everything and just relax there. I’ll rest for maybe a couple weeks and get back to work. I’ll probably go to Vegas to work out. I’m not 100 percent sure about the schedule. But I’m looking forward to the offseason because this is going to be a huge offseason for me to come back next season stronger and better and help the team win.

I don’t know yet about summer league. I wouldn’t mind playing. I had fun the first time I played and if I could help out the guys with the triangle or whatever we’re doing and help out the guys and I can be there participating, I’ll be happy.

I also have to make a decision about whether to play for Latvia. I really want to play for my country and compete. I really want to represent my country this summer, but I have to be smart about this decision. I’m going to sit down, take my time, make a decision and then see what happens.

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