Eastern Notes: Porzingis, Whiteside, Durant

Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis arrived in the NBA with questions regarding whether or not his thin frame could endure the nightly beatings administered by the league’s other big men, but the Latvian has shown that he can hold his own thus far, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “As you can see, I’m still skinny, I’m still light. But I fight hard and I can’t back down to anybody,” said Porzingis. “So that’s been my game; a lot of people didn’t know my game. So that’s why they thought, ‘Skinny white guy, he’s not going to be physical.’ But I still fight for those rebounds and try to do my job on the court.

While the 20-year-old has gotten off to a solid start, averaging 11.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest, the coaching staff cautions against placing too high an expectation on what Porzingis will be able to accomplish this season, Begley relays. “I don’t think we could anticipate that he’d be as good as he’s been. There probably will be a stretch for two weeks where he looks bad and everybody is questioning whether we should have drafted him and all the stuff that comes with that,” coach Derek Fisher said. “He’s a rookie and there’s a lot to learn. His ceiling is a long way from wherever he is now.

Here’s more from out of the Eastern Conference:

  • The Celtics have once again assigned swingman James Young and power forward Jordan Mickey to the Maine Red Claws, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will mark Young’s fourth jaunt to Maine of the young season, and Mickey’s third, as our tracker shows.
  • One executive who spoke with Chris Mannix of SI.com said he wouldn’t sign 2016 free agent Hassan Whiteside for more than $10MM a year, which Mannix connects to the Heat big man’s track record of maturity issues.
  • Kevin Durant‘s relationship with the Wizards and their fanbase will never quite be the same after making what could be his last appearance at the Verizon Center as a visiting player on Tuesday night, writes Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post. If Durant signs with Washington next offseason when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, he will arrive with a massive set of expectations attached. But if he instead elects not to play for his hometown squad, there will be a palpable sense of disappointment present every time he plays in D.C., Steinberg opines.
  • Bucks point guard Tyler Ennis credits his time spent with the Suns during the early half of the 2014/15 season for helping his development as a player along, Charles F. Gardner of The Journal-Sentinel writes. “In the long run, it helped me a lot,” Ennis said of his time in Phoenix. “Competing against those guys [Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas] in practice is not something every rookie gets to do. I learned a lot from them.” The second year player has been forced into a starting role for Milwaukee thanks to an injury to Michael Carter-Williams.
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