Porzingis wants Knicks to make the Playoffs, not rebuild anew

NBA.com Global on Dec 12, 2017 09:06 AM
Porzingis wants Knicks to make the Playoffs, not rebuild
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the New York Knicks blocks the shot by Willie Cauley-Stein #00 of the Sacramento Kings on November 11, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA.com staff report

Organizations tank. Players and coaches don’t tank. That’s the dilemma facing the New York Knicks as they try to build on the fly from four consecutive seasons on the outside, their noses pressed against the playoff glass.

The Knicks can see how well the difficult and embarrassing “Process” has worked in Philadelphia, through the first third of this 2017-18 season. They read and hear the coverage of teams in Chicago and Atlanta, where winning-by-losing appears to have been fully embraced. But they dare not go there – to that “institutionalized losing,” as New York GM Scott Perry called it – in New York if they want to keep a young star like Kristaps Porzingis, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to a source, Mills and Perry are aware Porzingis needs to see signs of progression if he is going to stay here long-term. A 25-57 finish won’t have the 7-foot-3 Latvian enthused about committing this summer when he gets a chance to sign a rookie contract extension.

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Porzingis wants to be in the playoffs for the first time. His first two NBA seasons have been over by March 1.

“I don’t believe in it either," Porzingis told The Post regarding tanking. “Every season you have to go with the expectations of making the playoffs. That’s the way to get better. If you do make the playoffs, that experience, you can’t change for nothing. Every player should as soon as you start you career. The sooner you get that, the more you’re prepared for the future. I’m really looking forward to making the playoffs."

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Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek is trying to win, otherwise young building block Willy Hernangomez would be the center backup, not Kyle O’Quinn.

“We’re always looking to win the game," Hornacek said. “Sometimes you want to give guys looks and opportunities, but that’s from practice where they earned it. It’s a little bit of a fine balance but ultimately we’re trying to win games and putting out guys who might give it to us."

The long-term might be difficult for the Knicks, with Tim Hardaway Jr. missing a lengthening stretch of games with a lower leg injury. But the short-term has raised some expectations in New York’s locker room, ones that might not be easy to dash.

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