Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina speaks at Media Day on Sept. 24, 2018, in Greenburgh, New York.

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Schmeelk: Knicks Media Day Recap

Porzingis Time Frame Unclear, Ntilikina Bulks Up

John Schmeelk
September 25, 2018 - 1:10 pm
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It was an uncharacteristically quiet Knicks media day with no bombshells or news-making comments from any of the players on the roster. There was no sign of Joakim Noah or questions about his status. It was a nice change for the Knicks, who seem to operate like a fairly normal NBA organization for the time being.

Here are the highlights:

KRISTAPS PORZINGIS

The Knicks' franchise player is still rehabbing from his torn ACL. He has begun light running and shooting but hasn’t started sprinting yet. He decided to rehab at Real Madrid in Spain because it had the best facilities closer to home in Europe. His family and other people around him have been careful to slow him down and convince him to be patient in his rehabilitation.

There is no timetable for his return, and Porzingis would not even guarantee he would be on the court during the 2018-19 season. He would only say that he would return when he “was 110 percent healthy and cleared by the doctors.” It seems like his people are being very careful and will be very conservative with when he will return to the court. Porzingis also stressed that there are no protocols for a 7-foot-3 guy with his body type recovering from an ACL injury so his handlers doesn't have a ton of benchmarks to work with.

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Porzingis said he was sincerely grateful that coach David Fizdale and his wife visited him in Latvia.

"That was really nice that he came all the way to Latvia ... to come visit me," said Porzingis, who seems excited to play for Fizdale.

Porzingis said he is not worried about his contract extension and is leaving that to his representation. It will be handled when it is appropriate.

KEVIN KNOX

There wasn’t much new from Knox, whom we have heard from a lot during the summer. The rookie first-round pick reiterated Fizdale’s preference for positionless basketball and how he looks forward to having the ball in his hands more to create for himself and his teammates.

COURTNEY LEE

Lee reiterated he does not want to be traded.

The shooting guard said he likes Fizdale’s approach and mimicked other teammates in calling him a player’s coach. He explained that he meant he is always willing to communicate and is always around the gym for the players to interact with.

MARIO HEZONJA

The forward, who signed as a free agent after spending three seasons with Orlando, said there were two things he was focusing on more this summer than he did in the past: creating for himself and others as a ballhandler on pick-and-rolls and improving his post play. He is excited to be used in both ways in Fizdale’s offense.

Hezonja said he likes how all starting spots will have to be earned, and he’ll try to earn one.

It appears Hezonja and second-year guard Frank Ntilikina have grown extremely close, with Hezonja calling him “his guy." The former lottery pick says he will teach Ntilikina all he can about his own failures and what it takes to succeed in the league. Hezonja is very impressed by Ntilikina’s work ethic and seriousness about basketball at such a young age.

FRANK NTILIKINA

Ntilikina is now listed at 6-6, and he thinks his growth and 15 pounds of added muscle will help him guard bigger forwards he might have to switch onto in pick-and-roll situations.

Ntilikina stressed he wants to continue to grow as a defender and gain more confidence on offense so he’ll be more aggressive. He likes how Fizdale is letting him play more instinctively and said last year he was thinking too much on the floor, which negatively affected his play. He wants to create for others, and take and make more shots.

He also stressed how being healthy all summer really helped him work on his game. As a rookie, knee and ankle injuries limited Ntilikina work on the court in the offseason.

TREY BURKE

Burke seems confident he can win the starting point guard spot and will play a lot of minutes. He wants to get to the rim more and shoot more 3s, rather than living in the midrange like he did last season.

LANCE THOMAS

You can tell that Thomas is once again ready to be a leader. He talked about how he has to push players different depending on their personality. He likes how Fizdale is being demanding and is probably making the Knicks run more than any other team in the league. He believes they will be one of the best-conditioned teams in the NBA and will have to outwork people if they want to be successful. He says Fizdale has stressed defense and development.

You can follow John on Twitter for everything Knicks, Giants and the world of sports at @Schmeelk.