Anthony, Knicks liking what they see from Porzingis
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Kristaps Porzingis was a mystery just a few months ago, so little known that many New York Knicks fans had never seen him play before thunderously booing his selection on draft night.
''Nobody knew who he was,'' Carmelo Anthony said. ''You had to go on YouTube to see his clips. Nobody knew who he was, so that's why he got the reaction that he got when he got drafted.''
Anthony and the Knicks have gotten to know the new guy, and they like what they see.
Porzingis had his first NBA practice Tuesday when the Knicks opened training camp at the U.S. Military Academy and didn't show any rookie jitters.
''I don't know what he's feeling on the inside, but I know from what I see he don't feel any pressure,'' Anthony said. ''Looks like he's handling everything pretty well, so we've just got to keep that going.''
Porzingis was the No. 4 pick in the draft, loaded with the potential but lacking the familiarity of a player who often goes that high. Anthony, for example, was a freshman sensation who had just led Syracuse to the national championship when he was taken one spot earlier in 2003.
But he said he had never even seen Porzingis play before the Knicks called to tell him they were drafting the 20-year-old forward from Latvia, and then Anthony watched some highlights on TV.
Porzingis' size drew as much attention as his skills, as he was listed at just 233 pounds on his 7-foot-3 frame. But Knicks forward Kyle O'Quinn had played with Porzingis for a few weeks at Impact Basketball and knew he could push back when pushed.
''He competed with NBA-level guys, stronger guys,'' O'Quinn said, ''so when people were talking about, `Oh my God, his size' and stuff like that ... obviously you can tell he's a little skinnier than most, but you don't judge a man by his physique, you judge a man by his heart I think. And he's got heart. He'll bang.''
Porzingis has since added some weight, though much of it might come right back off during the preseason. But the Knicks aren't worried, with team President Phil Jackson saying Pau Gasol, who played for him in Los Angeles, told Jackson he came into the NBA at 227.
''I was real light during summer league. I'm a little heavier,'' Porzingis said. ''I'm still light for these heavyweights, but I'm getting there. I'm getting stronger so that's a positive.''
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