Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis denies that his struggles of late are because he hit the “rookie wall” and is worn down by the long NBA season, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes. “It happens. Bad games happen. Two or three games later I have a great game,” Porzingis said after scoring just six points against the Nuggets on Tuesday. “It’s just ups and downs, especially my rookie season. It’s all a learning experience, especially some games you don’t feel as well, some games you feel better. But I try to find that consistency where I can play at the same level. I’m not there yet.”
Interim coach Kurt Rambis critiqued Porzingis’ shot selection, expressing a desire for the rookie to operate in the post area more, but Rambis still believes big things are ahead for the young Latvian, Bondy notes. “I’m not concerned at all. He’s still 20 years old. He’s got a lot to learn and my mindset is not going to change about him,” Rambis said. “He’s going to be great. There’s no doubt in my mind. But if we thought it was all going to happen this season, and he was going to be perfect and not make mistakes and going to do everything right, and he was going to solve all the mysteries of basketball this year, it just wasn’t going to happen.”
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Bismack Biyombo says he’s extremely happy with the Raptors and would love to remain in Toronto, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports relays (Twitter links). It’s unclear if Biyombo’s remarks indicate he intends to exercise his player option worth $2,940,630 for 2016/17 or if he is referring to opting out and seeking a long-term pact. The TSN scribe notes that Biyombo will likely have to sacrifice financially if he wishes to remain with the Raptors, with Toronto already committed to almost $70MM in guaranteed salary for next season.
- The Celtics have assigned Coty Clarke, James Young and Jordan Mickey to their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Clarke’s first official D-League assignment on the year, though he was a member of the Red Claws prior to signing his 10-day deal with Boston. Neither Young nor Mickey is a stranger to Maine, with this being Young’s 10th and Mickey’s 11th trip there this season.
- The Raptors have recalled Bruno Caboclo, Lucas Nogueira and Delon Wright from their D-League affiliate, the team announced.