On Friday, Kristaps Porzingis became the latest Maverick to address the media following media availability Zoom calls from Rick Carlisle and Luka Doncic.
In response to Chris Henderson asking how playing would be with no fans, Porzingis compared it to a “high-level, high-intensity pick up game.”
“I think a big part of the game and the atmosphere is the fans,” Porzingis noted, “they give us energy a lot of times.” He mentioned how important home court advantage is with fans, but how an adjustment to the new normal we face is necessary.
When Brad Townsend asked Porzingis if he was excited or apprehensive about playing basketball amidst the pandemic, KP echoed a similar tone as Luka did yesterday. “I’m extremely excited to be back,” he emphasized, “I was working out the whole time I was home, fortunately the situation was good there.” He mentions the low number of cases in Latvia - allowing him access to gyms and going to dinner with family.
“[Opting out] was never really in my mind,” he responded to Dorothy Gentry as she asked about his decision on playing in the bubble. “The NBA was able to put it all together in a way that was safe for everyone, and there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to play and help the team.” Despite Porzingis opting in, he later mentioned understanding why some guys did not want to head to Orlando. “I’m a guy with no kids, so maybe I’m more fearless with that stuff,” he said, “If you someone has a different situation you can’t judge them...everyone is just looking out for their families.” His teammate Willie Cauley-Stein is someone who opted to not play in the bubble as he expects his child to born soon.
Despite load management, Kristaps says his knee felt great as he returned to basketball this past season. “Now with the extra time we’ve had...I feel really comfortable back on the court.” He mentions the extra time has allowed him to learn the system more and have many conversations with Coach Carlisle.
When questioned about the progression of his chemistry with Luka, he mentioned “there was only a matter of time” before they began to click on the court. “I don’t think we’re going to take a step back,” he assured, “We’re only moving forward...We’re both excited to play with each other and with the rest of the guys.”
“Of course we wanna win the most games we can,” Porzingis responded when asked about seeding, “but we’re not looking to avoid anybody.” This comes in contrast to many Mavericks fan’s concerns about facing teams such as the Clippers or Lakers in the first round. “All of our mindsets are that we’re a dangerous team and we can surprise people.”
Our own Doyle Rader asked him if he had been working on anything to add to his game, to which Porzingis responded, “Yes, but I can’t talk about it. I’ll show it on the court.” It sounds like the Unicorn has added yet another exciting element to his game.
Tim Cato of The Athletic asked about how it would feel to be in his playoff series, to which Porzingis assured he was ready to play at his “highest level”.
“My goal is to have a post-season every year from now on,” he emphasized.
As he closed out the English session, he assured Saad Yousef that he was prepared mentally and physically to play basketball.
“Let’s hope it all works out and we get to play some basketball.”
We’re hoping with you KP!