GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Kristaps Porzingis may not play in a game this season, but as the Knicks opened training camp Tuesday there he was, the 7-3 franchise star in uniform, blending in with the rest of his teammates.
Porzingis was on the floor with the team, but unable to participate in any way other than offering his own aid in experience.
“He was in every aspect of our practice today,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said. “If he wasn’t passing to a guy he was rebounding for a guy, coaching a guy or he was talking to a coach on what we were doing. It was fun to watch him get engaged with the guys. It’s a tough time for him. So we’re going to surround him with a lot of love and keep his spirits up because he really wants to be out there with us.”
Porzingis did a little shooting, although Fizdale was reluctant to call what he saw jump shots.
“Not really jumping. Just light. He’s probably getting off the ground that high,” Fizdale said, putting his fingers less than an inch apart.
“He’s such a big part of what we do. A guy that’s that talented, what they see helps other players. Maybe his body can’t do it right now but his mind and other aspects of service can really help this group. That’s what he wants to do.’’
First look at Robinson
Mitchell Robinson opened eyes during the Las Vegas Summer League, but participated in his first real practice with the Knicks Tuesday — and it was his first real practice since the odd path he took to the NBA. He sat out last season after enrolling, briefly practicing with the team and then transferring out of Western Kentucky before deciding to prepare himself for the draft.
“I liked it. Sitting out a whole year and then coming back to play, it felt good to get back out there and show people what I can really do now,” he said. “I showed a lot of energy, running the floor, that’s what I do best. I should help my team out with that by itself.”
His real highlight so far has come off the floor as Trey Burke compared Robinson’s athleticism in pickup games to a young — and skinny — Shaquille O’Neal.
“Yeah, because Shaq liked to dunk everything and I do the same thing,” Robinson said. “It’s a great compliment but I’m just here to be me.”