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Eastern Conference

Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis: ‘For Me, It’s Now Home’

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New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis has had a roller offseason. From rumors of being available in trade to rifts with former Knicks president Phil Jackson.

Now, Porzingis is singing a different tune about the Knicks and New York.

“So far it’s been tough in New York, but my journey is only beginning and I hope to stay there my whole career, so as a city we can have some fun and win some games and do something big,” Porzingis said in an interview with NBA.com’s Shaun Powell.

“For me, it’s now home.”

Porzingis touched on the roster overhaul the Knicks have been undergoing which included a new regime in the front office.

“Every year is almost like a new year. There will be a lot of changes. I’m going into the season hoping we have a group of guys who want to work hard and win. That’s what’s important.”

Porzingis talked about Carmelo Anthony, who has long been rumored to be on his way out of the Knicks.

“I would love to have him around and keep playing alongside him. But it is what it is. It’s a business. If it ends, well … I don’t know, it’s out of my hands. I’m really thankful for these couple of years I’ve been with him.”

“He’s an All-Star, an incredible player and I’ve learned so much from him,” Porzingis said.

“There’s still so much for me to learn form him. I would love to have him around and keep playing alongside him. But it is what it is. It’s a business. If it ends, well … I don’t know, it’s out of my hands. I’m really thankful for these couple of years I’ve been with him, just seeing how he works during the summer. It proves he wants to win and he wants to be great. I’m sure he’ll make the right decision for himself.”

Currently Porzingis is hard at work this offseason to improve his game.

“Been working three times a day, lifting weights, running on the track, swimming, basketball, all kinds of stuff,” he said. “Just trying to get myself stronger for next season. It’s going to be a big year for me. I’m so excited, putting in so much work. I can’t wait play again and have it show on the court.”

“My game is inside and out. I want to keep it that way so I worked a lot on my shooting, and my post game, which I know I can get better at. A lot of time was spent and will be spent in the weight room. I want to be able to take contact and be ready for all kinds of situations. All that coming together will help me come together as a player.

“I’m still 22 and still really young but I’m trying to learn as much as I can on the court, and trying to learn as much as I can off the court as well. I want to improve the mental side. I’m actually amazed by Conor McGregor. I’ve been watching so many of his videos, trash talking, how mentally strong he is. I’ve been really interested in that kind of stuff.”

“This is an opportunity to come here and make the NBA grow and change the environment for me this summer. I thought it would be a lot of fun. I’m real excited to be here.”

In the end, Porzingis sounds to be finally happy with the Knicks and his future with the team.

“Look, I was so happy when I got drafted by New York. I was never worried about the big stage or anything like that. I’ve always enjoyed that. I can envision (a championship someday) and see it. But we’re still a long way from there. As we get better, if we can all see that goal at the end and work towards it, anything can happen.”

 

Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Dwane Casey Says Andre Drummond In Best Shape He’s Seen Him In

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Detroit Pistons’ head coach Dwane Casey is expecting big things from big man Andre Drummond this upcoming season and is excited to see what he can do as he is impressed with the shape Drummond is in.

“One, his overall conditioning. He’s in the best shape since I’ve been around him, the year and a half that I’ve seen. His body is slim and trim, his body fat is down, he’s been in Vegas working with Coach Gerg (Tim Grgurich) and Sean Sweeney all summer religiously, two and three times a day. That in itself is going to pay great dividends,” Casey said, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“Watching him in pickup games, he’s running like a deer. His decision making, I think the 3-point shooting experiment, we kind of put that on hold in the second part of the year last year but still, catching the ball on pick and roll, making decisions, he’s doing a great job of that – a much better job than he did last year. That’s something he’s worked on this summer, making the right read, the right decision” Casey added.

Drummond poured in 17.3 points and 15.6 rebounds per game for the Pistons last season, and has been working on his offensive game during the offseason.

“With him, teams try to go small with a guy 6-7, 6-8, he has the ability and agility and speed and quickness that he can get out there and guard those guys” Casey said.

“That gives him an advantage on the other end, where now I’m in a pick-and-roll situation, he’s got a 6-7 five man in front of him, he still can jump hook over him or kick out. That’s the part of his game, he’s doing a much better job with, his decision making. The third thing will be his finishing, finishing around the rim. He’s such a great offensive rebounder that he’s got to be able to finish once he gets it because he does a great job of crashing the boards and dominating the boards.”

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Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Dwane Casey Planning Flexibility with Blake Griffin, Thon Maker

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Detroit Pistons’ head coach Dwane Casey has a creative approach in mind when he utilizes Blake Griffin and Thon Maker this upcoming season.

While the Pistons don’t have a true center outside of Andre Drummond, Casey sees opportunities to get creative with his lineups, depending on the situation at hand.

“I see it being very situational,” Casey said, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“The other guy we haven’t mentioned, we have played Blake at the five. Not good numbers off of that, so I don’t anticipate that but there are scenarios in the game, last two minutes of the game, where Blake could play the five. Looking for really a bump out of Thon, playing him at four/five, whatever it is, but a lot of nights if you look at the league, the rosters have gotten smaller and the traditional five has kind of gone the way of the dinosaur. The flexibility we have with Thon, with Markieff having the possibility of playing there, is really important.”

With Drummond focusing on developing his offense this offseason, the Pistons may lack some defense at the rim, and in the paint.

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Eastern Conference

Heat’s Bam Adebayo Discusses Team Picking Up Option

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Bam Adebayo

The Miami Heat recently picked up the fourth-year option on the contract of center Bam Adebayo, who is thrilled to see further commitment from the team.

Adebayo, the Heat’s starter at center, will make $3.5 million this season, and is now guaranteed $5.1 million in the 2020-2021 season.

“It’s definitely a confidence builder,” Adebayo said, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “It’s one of those things that a lot of guys don’t get to see, but I’m glad it happened to me. So we’re going to keep this thing going and see if we can win some more games.”

Adebayo collected 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists last season for Miami.

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