ARDSLEY, N.Y. — Moments after dribbling his way through a group of knee-high day campers, Kristaps Porzingis revealed that he has sky-high expectations for his Knicks team this season.
The 7-3 Latvian stopped short of echoing new teammate Derrick Rose and calling the Knicks a “super team.” But he does believe that the Knicks now are talented enough to beat any team in the league.
“That just shows his confidence, that he believes in us,” Porzingis said when asked about Rose’s comments. “I don’t know what’s a super team and what’s not a super team, but what I think he meant was that we’re able to win every game. Not that we’re going to win 82 games with zero losses. But every team that comes up, we’re able to beat them because we have enough talent.”
Porzingis made his comments Saturday at a two-day youth basketball camp event hosted by Pro-Camp at the House of Sports. He revealed that the Knicks squad — which includes several key additions, including Rose and Joakim Noah — has been playing pickup games together for several weeks. Training camp does not officially start until Sept. 27.
Porzingis said he has been impressed by Rose, whose health has been in question since he first injured his knee in 2012. Porzingis said Rose has been explosive.
“He’s still got it. He’s still Derrick Rose,” Porzingis said. “I’m excited to play with him. He draws so much attention. When he’s driving, he’s so dangerous. I’m going to be wide open, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Porzingis said Rose and Noah bring a great win-now attitude to the team. He said he particularly likes Noah’s intensity.
“He’s great. I love him,” Porzingis said. “The first conversation we had, I was in the training room, he came in with his shirt off and I was like, ‘Oh, man, you’ve been working out.’ He’s a really cool guy and we just started talking about the season. I told him this was a big year for us and we kept talking and he just got so intense.
“He really feels like this is our opportunity and we have to give it our all. That’s the type of guy you want on the team. He brings that good energy. From the first time we got to talk, I fell in love with him.”
Porzingis spent a big chunk of the summer in Latvia. He said he has bulked up to about 240 pounds, which was his weight at the beginning of last season.
Despite the added talent, the second-year player said he is not worried about getting a decreased role in the offense.
“I know the team drafting me, they want me to grow and grow into a star, a superstar, so I believe that they’re going to help me grow,” the Rookie of the Year runner-up said. “And they know the type of guy that I am. When I have difficulties, I will not complain . . . If we’re winning, that’s all that matters to me. If we’re winning, I’ll be happy. And that can help me grow.
“Last season helped me grow because we lost, and that’s a lot to take mentally. But as long as we’re winning and I’m playing hard and with intensity and I have the right mindset, then we’ll be fine.”
Porzingis said the team’s main goal going into the season should be to make the playoffs. The Knicks have missed the postseason for three straight years.
Said Porzingis: “Obviously, the No. 1 goal is the playoffs this year. That’s in my mind. We can’t be thinking nothing past that.”