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The New York Knicks had to go through some rough times in order to end up with Kristaps Porzingis as the No. 4 pick in the 2015 draft, but it seems like it will be completely worth it. Even after just a couple of months in the NBA, people were pegging Porzingis as a future superstar because of his size, skill set, and mental makeup on the court.

The Knicks just have to get him into a winning environment to help him grow in meaningful games, which is a big reason why they swung for the fences this summer by trading for Derrick Rose and signing both Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee.

They’re trying to jump right back into the postseason. If you ask Porzingis what the expectation for this season is, he’s only going to talk about the playoffs. Get into the postseason and start soaking up that experience as the Knicks try to build toward being a title contender — not just for the Eastern Conference championship but for the NBA title. From Ian Begley at ESPN:

Kristaps Porzingis has clear expectations for the New York Knicks this season.

“Obviously, the No. 1 goal is the playoffs this year,” he said Saturday at a camp he hosted for children in Westchester, New York. “That’s where my head is at. I can’t be thinking nothing past that. Right now it’s the playoffs.”

Kristaps Porzingis, rookie seasonKristaps Porzingis can be as good as he wants to be. USATSI

This is the right mentality to have, but just wanting to make the playoffs won’t get it done. The Knicks have talent but 40 percent of their starting lineup hasn’t been good in a couple of years due to injuries. Rose was solid at times last season but ultimately a non-factor. Noah only played 29 games and hasn’t looked the same in two years. The Knicks need these guys to be healthy and to click with Carmelo Anthony. They need Jeff Hornacek’s version of the Triangle offense to be something that fits in the modern NBA as a sustainable system.

All of this is doable, but it’s also a far cry version of the “what if” game from Rose calling them a super-team earlier this summer. But Porzingis — being a good teammate — even help explained Rose’s comments and why he likes them so much.

“I don’t know what’s a Super Team and what’s not a Super Team but what I think he meant was that we’re able to win every game,” the second-year forward/center said. “Not that we’re going to win 82 games, zero (losses). But every team that comes up, we’re able to beat them because we have enough talent. I think that’s what he meant and I like the confidence, I like that he believes that we’re good enough. So it’s just, now we’ve got to prove it. It’s enough talking and we’ve got to go out on the court and prove that we’re a good team.”

It should be an incredibly interesting season for the Knicks. Being one of the top teams in the East seems unlikely, but making the playoffs is absolutely within their grasp. That should make Porzingis pretty happy all season long.


Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Kristaps Porzingis has his eyes only on the Knicks making the playoffs