NEW ORLEANS — Kristaps Porzingis wants to enjoy All-Star Weekend, but his thoughts are on his “up-and-down” play, the Knicks’ struggles and whether any current teammates will be on the move.
Porzingis is not happy with his play the past two months. His dip has coincided with the Knicks’ nosedive, which is why changes could be coming by Thursday’s trade deadline.
“That might happen,” Porzingis said before scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to help the World Team beat Team USA, 150-141, in Friday night’s Rising Stars Challenge. “I’m here, I’m trying to relax, but I’m still thinking about the season the whole time. I can’t really disconnect. We’ll see what happens. There might be some changes.”
Porzingis, who will take part in the Skills Challenge on Saturday night, said his nagging left Achilles issue and recent stomach illness have made it difficult to regain his rhythm from earlier in the season. He also said it’s hard to find his rhythm when he doesn’t get involved all the time but that he has to find other ways to make an impact when the offense goes through Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose.
“I’ve been up and down a little bit,” Porzingis said. “I haven’t been consistent. I’m just trying to get back in my rhythm, trying to play the right way.
“Especially playing at my position, you might not get the ball a few times in a row. That happens,’’ he said. “You have to be ready for that and you have to do whatever else you can on the floor if you’re not getting the ball. That’s my mentality. Until that moment comes that basically the ball goes through me every time, then I got to find ways how to be effective, getting offensive rebounds, playing hard defense, blocking shots and helping the team that way.”
Porzingis said he hadn’t practiced for the Skills Challenge, which pits big men against guards, but that he would. “I should watch some film, study for a little bit,” he said, “because I want to win.”
The Knicks’ Willy Hernangomez had two points for the World Team. Hernangomez, who was picked Wednesday to replace injured Denver guard Emmanuel Mudiay, will fly to Mexico on Saturday to join his brother on a vacation that was planned before he was named to the team.
Denver’s Jamal Murray was named MVP after leading the World Team with 36 points and 11 assists.
Porzingis was asked to name his Mount Rushmore of Knicks. He picked Patrick Ewing, Bernard King and Walt Frazier but didn’t mention a fourth. “I’ll leave that one spot open,” he said. “There are a lot of really good players, legends who have done a lot for the organization.”