GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The thing with The Process is that it’s, well, a process.
A day after coach Jeff Hornacek name-dropped 76ers coach Brett Brown and made it clear that the Knicks are hoping for a rebuild of their own, Kristaps Porzingis said the young team still has a ways to go before the product on the court comes close to matching the vision in their heads.
“I think our effort is there,” he said after practice Saturday. “We just need to work on doing things the right way and be clear on what we’re doing. I think we’re starting to figure each other out and we’re starting to figure those things out and it takes time and it takes practice . . . [We’re] still [making] a lot of mistakes on the defensive end. The effort is there, like I said, but there is still so many, many things we need to fix, and that’s why we’re here working.”
When asked about their identity, he said he hopes the new-look Knicks will be defensive-minded, something that was absent in Porzingis’ first two years in the league.
And though the goal this season appears to be centered more on progress than, say, the playoffs, Porzingis said he doesn’t “think we’re focused on that.”
“We want to build a good team in the long term and we don’t look at it like, this is the season where we can lose,” he said. “We want to win every game and we want to have the best season possible, and that way we’ll keep going as a team and in the long term we’ll be a better team.”
Hornacek, however, reiterated that although the Knicks certainly are looking to win every game they can, for once, that will not be the only measure of success. The rebuild is for real, though it perhaps won’t take as long as the multiyear Process in Philadelphia.
“At the end of the game, when the game’s over, we can’t get discouraged if we don’t win,” he said. “We have some things we do, we probably do things right three out of every four times. The goal is these first couple months, let’s make it four out of five times, and then hopefully by the end of the year we’re nine out of 10 times. Again, it’s new stuff for them. They’re trying extremely hard.”
Ntilikina still out. Frank Ntilikina said his contused knee is on the mend but still expects to miss Sunday’s preseason game against the Nets at Barclays Center. Hornacek said the rookie also could miss Monday’s game against the Rockets.
“We have to look at — we have shootaround on Monday — him moving and actually practicing,” Hornacek said. “We’re not gonna have guys that come out and play in games that aren’t able to practice prior to that. We’ll see how that goes.”
Though the Knicks don’t want to take any chances with Ntilikina in the preseason, they do need a greater basis of evaluation after he missed summer league with an injured knee — the same knee, he said, but not the same injury.
Porzingis was a healthy scratch against the Wizards on Friday but expects to play both games of the back-to-back Sunday and Monday.