“He’s still young, he’s a second-year player. I think we put too much pressure on him to be great so fast,” Anthony said after the New York Knicks’ practice on Monday. “I just want him to just — or want [the media] to just give him an opportunity to grow as a player. He don’t know everything right now. He’s just now 21, his second year in the league.”
Anthony took on a “big brother” role of sorts for Porzingis last season, and he appears to be taking the same approach here. Porzingis doesn’t seem to mind the pressure and expectations that come with being a young star in New York. But Anthony, who has played in New York for five years, knows how quickly a hype train can go off the rails in the Big Apple. He hopes to continue to help Porzingis grow and take some pressure off of him in his second season in New York.
“That’s just kind of who I am as a person, more so than as a basketball player,” Anthony said. “I understand his situation, I understand the pressure that is put on him. Because I deal with those pressures, so I know how to handle him. If I can help someone else handle those pressures, then I’ll do that.”
Adding Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings, Courtney Lee and Joakim Noah should, in theory, take some of the pressure off Porzingis. Team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills believe putting Porzingis in a winning situation will also benefit his development.
“It’s going to be a learning process,” Anthony said of Porzingis. “It’s a learning curve for him, too. Last year, no one knew what to expect from him. It was all new to everybody. This year he’s going to be a focal point in scouting reports and people are going to try to figure out ways how to stop him. So just a matter of being smarter and learning the game a little more, maybe.”
Rose may miss rest of preseason: Rose’s civil trial over a lawsuit alleging that he and two friends sexually assaulted a woman is scheduled to conclude either Tuesday night or Wednesday. If the trial extends into Wednesday, it is unlikely Rose will play in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Brooklyn Nets.
Coach Jeff Hornacek said he would like Rose to work with the team before putting him in a game. Thursday’s game is the second of a back-to-back, so there will be no team shootaround in which Rose could work with his teammates.
Rose has missed nearly two weeks of practices in addition to three preseason games.
Porzingis learns from Dirk tape: Porzingis, a 7-foot-3 power forward, said he watched a full Mavericks playoff game to study how teams defended the 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki in the postseason. Both power forwards have the similar ability to play away from the basket.
“It’s a different story in the playoffs than the regular season. I’m trying to learn that part,” he said. “That’s going to be tough, when it’s playoff time when they really start paying attention to you and really start putting you in situations where you’re not comfortable.”
Heading into his second season, Porzingis said he feels stronger in his lower half and is seeing the benefits of it on the floor.
“I’m able to run a little more. I think with Coach Hornacek, he’s making us run a lot and make sure we’re in good condition. And that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “I’m feeling way better this year, physically. And I know what to expect now from the season.”