VIDEO: Porzingis shows kids some of the finer points
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 the transition from playing in Spain with fewer games and much more practice time to the NBA with several games a week and occasional struggles to find chances to practice.
We would almost scrimmage every day in Europe. That’s how it is. And then you play once a week, on the weekends, usually on Sundays. It’s way different over here. You don’t have as much time to work on your game individually and you don’t have as much time to practice. The good thing is that you have a chance to play every other day and that helps a lot to get better. But you don’t have that much time to spend working on your individual skills.
At first, I wanted to do so much work that I would just tire myself so much that I got worn out. Now the Knicks have started to control me more and they don’t want me to practice that much. That was the thing at first. I wasted a lot of energy trying to do a lot of work and not really being smart about and not knowing what the schedule is like. Now I think I’ve gotten used to it.
Before, I would come in early, work out, then have the team practice, and then try to shoot after practice as well. There were moments some days I was just really tired. It got to me. But the team helped me out. They’re taking care of me and making sure I get enough rest. They wouldn’t say anything to me at first, but they saw that some days I was just so tired. They had to control it, what I’m doing and how much I’m shooting. Now it’s a little more controlled.
It’s a challenge to find time to get extra work without wearing yourself out. Especially when you come in in your first year and you know you’ve got to work on your game and you want to become a better player every day. For me, it’s almost anxiety that you want to work, you want to get better, you want to prove something every day. But you’ve got to be smart because the season is long, a lot of games, and you don’t want to wear yourself out before the season’s over.
I would do the work before and after the regular practice but I also like to go on those days when you don’t have a practice and get to the gym, be by myself, set up the shooting machine and just shoot and be by myself. I’ve said this in interviews before, that’s like a church to me. I go the gym and there’s no one there, you can just be working on your skills by yourself.
Usually the team is not too happy if I go too late so I try to go at normal times. Sometimes a little late – 8, 9 p.m. – but not usually later than that. I’ve tried to be there later, but the key doesn’t work. I think it stops working at 11. They want us to get rest obviously. They want us to be smart about getting rest.
I’ve talked to the assistant coaches and they’ve been telling me that they’ve seen a lot of growth in my game from the beginning of the season. I don’t see that much. I think I’ve gotten better at reading the game and what is coming. They’re seeing a lot of improvement, but I only see the weaknesses. I only see what I need to work on. I don’t really focus on what I’m doing well. The way I view things is different.
I just know there are a lot of things I see that I need to work on during the offseason. I want to keep working on my post game. I have some post moves. But I want to be the guy who you can give the ball to and know that I can score or at least draw a foul. Obviously I want to get stronger. This will be a big offseason for me to work on my strength, my mobility. I want to be a guy who can switch on guards and play defense on small guards on the perimeter. There are a lot of things I need to work on. There’s nothing I do perfect, so there’s a lot of work to do.