To say the relationship between the New York Knicks and Kristaps Porzingis was souring by the end of last season would be an understatement the span of the Latvian’s gigantic wingspan.
Porzingis, who notably skipped his exit meeting with the franchise once the 82-game journey had ended in disappointment once again for New York, didn’t hide how disgruntled he was with some of the inner-workings of the team that drafted him.
Whether it was how former Knicks president Phil Jackson threw Carmelo Anthony under the bus while speaking with media during exit meeting availability, reports of how Jeff Hornacek disrespectfully spoke to his teammates, or a combination of factors, Porzingis went home to Latvia immediately.
Porzingis shifted his focus to offseason training, with an eye on competing for Latvia during EuroBasket. Latvia is currently in the quarterfinals, slated to take on Slovenia. Kristaps’ amazing play has been key for his home country, and it looks like his summer plans are already paying off.
The Knicks’ 22-year-old franchise player is averaging 21.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and two blocks per game while shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc. Those are impressive numbers for a player to put up in just 26.4 minutes per game.
While the Knicks weren’t thrilled with how Porzingis stormed out of New York and back home, the results of Kristaps’ focus may just make up for it. He’s not only enjoying a great EuroBasket run, he’s adding serious muscle to his 7’3 frame.
A quick glance through his Instagram, and you can see the hard work being put in from Porzingis. He’s no longer the flimsy seven-footer many thought would be another international flop, but a ripped big man that’s looking more and more like a big-time player in the league for a very long time.
His most recent workout picture doesn’t even need a caption, it speaks for itself as he puts in work. His triceps and shoulder muscles have clearly come a long way over the past several years:
In another picture, he simply captions it “IVAN,” clearly referencing the Ivan Drago character from Rocky IV:
The award for best caption, however, has to go to this gem from July 14. “Education is important,” Porzingis ponders, “but biceps are importanter”:
In the NBA, perhaps Porzingis has a good point. Being educated is great, but when you’re banging down low for a rebound or backing down a defender, biceps certainly are “importanter.”