BROOKLYN – When pressed on whether Kristaps Porzingis will play at some point this season, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle reiterated what he said shortly after the team’s Jan. 31 trade with the New York Knicks.
“Look, he’s not playing this year and the plan was always for him not to play,” Carlisle said before Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. “That’s all I can tell you.”
Carlisle did offer a lot of insight into what Porzingis has been doing since that blockbuster seven-player, two draft pick trade with the Knicks.
“He’s doing a lot of stuff behind the scene,” Carlisle sad. “What I’ve learned about him is he’s a tremendous talent — I think that’s obvious. He’s a great kid, he is meticulous in how he approaches things very detailed and extremely hard working and organized with everything he does.
“But in the meantime he picked up his workouts, he’s doing more aggressive one-on-one control banging type stuff with some of our assistants and he’s making great progress.”
Carlisle, though, noted that it’s doubtful that Porzingis will be involved in any contact practices or scrimmages with his Mavs teammates during the rest of this season. The 7-3 forward is still rehabbing after undergoing surgery in February of last year to repair his torn left anterior cruciate ligament.
“It’s pretty obvious that (sitting out the remainder of this season is) an opportunity to gain strength, to make sure that he is back 100 percent,” Carlisle said. “Beyond that (Porzingis’s camp) had a plan in place, and we’re helping to facilitate them executing their plan.
“I know that our trainers, strength coaches and medical are adding value to it, so it’s a win-win as far as I can see.”
In 48 games for the Knicks last season Porzingis averaged 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks and was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Then came to the unfortunate knee injury.
“Categorically he appears to me to be a leader, which is something you can’t have enough of,” Carlisle said. “All the signs point in a really great direction.
“But he is traveling with us, he’s involved in practice, he’s vocal in huddles during the games, which is great.”
Told that Porzingis didn’t travel to away games after he got hurt when he was with the Knicks, Carlisle said: “Let’s not get into a back-and-forth about what happened before. We do things the way we do things and he’s very much involved.”