GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Kristaps Porzingis is in a mini-slump. But Jeff Hornacek tried to put all concerns to rest by comparing the Knicks’ young star to one of the Yankees.
“Didn’t Aaron Judge kind of just go through this?” Hornacek said after practice Sunday. “So relax, people, relax, people. He’ll be all right, just like Aaron Judge.”
Despite some midseason struggles, Judge was the American League home run champ and the unanimous Rookie of the Year and finished second in the MVP voting. He also led the Yankees to within one win of the World Series. If Porzingis can finish his season the way Judge did, the Knicks will take it.
Porzingis got off to a fast start, averaging 30.4 points through his first 11 games. But in his last three, he averaged 18.3 points and hit only 33.9 percent of his shots (18-for-53).
He wouldn’t blame his troublesome right elbow or the different defenses he’s facing for his recent dip. He said he needs to put in some extra work.
“I got to fix all the little details,” Porzingis said. “Look at the film, look at my shots and not overthink about it. Sometimes there are good shots, but it’s just in and out. The elbow is not bothering me at all. I don’t want to blame it on the elbow. Get some rest and not overthink about those kinds of things.”
The elbow is an issue that he said he likely will have to address after the season. Porzingis said he injured it when he fell on it in a couple of games this season. He missed the Nov. 8 game in Orlando because of the elbow and a sprained ankle.
Porzingis said he hasn’t undergone an X-ray or MRI on the elbow. He said it swells up, but because the swelling is down, he doesn’t want to have any tests on it now. He hopes to bounce back Monday night when the Knicks face the Clippers at the Garden.
“Today’s the day I’m almost back to normal,” Porzingis said. “I almost don’t feel it all anymore . . . If I’m already getting better, I don’t think it’s anything serious.”
Porzingis is coming off one of his worst games of the season. He shot 3-for-13 and scored 13 points Friday night in the Knicks’ most lopsided loss this season, by 23 points to the Raptors in Toronto. Porzingis was 3-for-14 and scored 12 points in a 21-point loss to the Celtics during the Knicks’ 0-3 start.
Porzingis also struggled in the fourth quarter of last Monday’s loss to the Cavaliers when LeBron James guarded him physically. It could be that the more experienced teams know how to defend him.
“You’re going to have ups and downs throughout the season no matter how great a player you are,” Hornacek said. “He’s been battling with the elbow and teams playing physical, but he handled that the first  games . . . I don’t think it’s any big deal. He’ll get it right back, probably.”
With the Clippers visiting the Garden, Porzingis was asked about a tweet that came from his account in May that created a stir.
This was two weeks after he skipped his exit interview with then-team president Phil Jackson. The tweet said “LA Clippers” followed by three smiling face emojis. The tweet was quickly deleted, and Porzingis tweeted that he was hacked.
“I wish I had the answer,” he said. “I was in Barcelona at that moment and one of my friends was like, ‘Yo, did you just tweet that?’ I was like, ‘It’s fake.’ Then I was like, ‘Hold up, let me check on Twitter for sure.’ I checked Twitter and nothing was on Twitter because it was already deleted. Then I put in search ‘Porzingis’ and that’s when everything showed up. I was like, ‘Oh. I had no idea at all.’ I had both phones with me. Still until this day it’s a mystery what that was.
“I don’t know what the hell that was, honestly.”