Kristaps Porzingis: “We’re a dangerous team: I think we can surprise people”

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images /

Kristaps Porzingis gave insight on the Dallas Mavericks preparations: “All of our mindsets are that we’re a dangerous team and I think we can surprise people.”

It’s been five years since Kristaps Porzingis went No. 4 in the 2015 NBA draft. Since then, the NBA’s unicorn has switched teams to the Dallas Mavericks but has still never seen postseason play. With the bubble in Orlando, he’s getting that chance.

And he’s past ready.

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“This will be my first experience and no matter what the circumstances are, I’m going to try to get the most out of it and get the most experience and play the highest level basketball I’ve ever played. I’m looking forward to that” Porzingis told Dallas media during a late Friday afternoon Zoom call.

“My goal is to have a postseason every year from now on and this is going to be the first one. I’m looking forward to the next one after this, hopefully when we have fans back.”

Porzingis and the Maverickss are preparing to leave next week for the NBA bubble in Orlando as the League resumes its 2019-20 season that was cut short March 11th as the coronavirus pandemic began to sweep through the United States.

The 24-year-old, 7’3″ center/power forward shared his thoughts on returning to Dallas, if he ever thought of opting out, quarantine life and more.

On opting out:

“That was never really in my mind. I knew if we had the opportunity to play and the NBA was able to put it all together where it was safe for everybody…there was no doubt in mind I was going to play and help the team. It was never  really a consideration for  my part, I was just hoping that we would get back to it and finish the season and restart.”

On staying prepared:

“Once we stopped the season because of the virus, my mind hasn’t really turned off completely. During the season I feel like you have to stay a little bit on edge the whole time, you have to be ready to go no matter what  – that’s just how I am – I never really turned it off. I knew if we had the chance that I’d have to be ready physically, mentally, and in every other aspect. I stayed ready the whole time and I feel great physically. Mentally I’m there. I was able to heal little  things I had going on and I’m super excited to get back on the court so let’s hope it all  works out and we can enjoy some basketball.”

On if he has added any new elements to his game: 

“Yes, but I can’t talk about it. It’s a secret. I’ll have to show it on the court.”

On the absence of NBA fans:

“I think it’s going to be weird honestly. I  think a big part of the game and the whole atmosphere is the fans. They make the whole thing – they bring the energy, they give us the energy a lot of the time that’s why home court is so important. But this time it will be different so we’ll all have to get used to it and go with the flow and see how it goes. But I think the feel is going to be more like a pick-up game, a high-intensity, high-level pick-up game than an actual NBA game.”

On returning to Dallas:

“I’m extremely excited to be back. I feel great. I was working out the whole time while  I was back home. Fortunately, the situation was good back home and it wasn’t that many cases and it wasn’t as dangerous. Once I got back, it was pretty much everything was back to normal. A lot of restaurants were open and I was able to do stuff with my family and spend some quality time with the family and at the same time get some good work in. But now I’m excited to be back, back with the team and the organization, and I’m looking forward to our first playoff experience. It’s going to be different but I’m ready for it.”

On chemistry with Luka Doncic and the team:

“I don’t think it will be that tough to regain our chemistry. We’ve been working out since we’ve been back and once we got to know a little bit more about each other on the court, it was only a matter of time for us to really get that chemistry going and I don’t think we’re going to take a step back. We’re only going to take steps forward in terms of that.”

“It’s heading in the right direction and we’re excited to play with one another and the rest of the guys. I can feel we all got a little more extra juice now when we’re working out because we know what’s coming. For a lot of guys, it’s going to be the first time that we’ve experienced this.  And everybody’s working really, really hard and we’re ready to show that on the court.”

On the Dallas Mavericks chances in Orlando:

“Of course we want to win the most games we can. We’re not looking to avoid anybody. Obviously, those are going to be tough matchups But we want to do the best we can and then we’ll see where we end up and go from there. All of our mindsets are that we’re a dangerous team and I think we can surprise people. And that’s gotta be our mindset and that’s what we’re working towards. We’re working hard. That’s our mindset going into the postseason.”

On his biggest fear heading into the bubble: 

“Biggest fear? I don’t really think about it too much. I don’t focus on it. I think the most important thing for us now is everybody stays safe. We don’t do stuff we’re not supposed to right now. It’s important that we get to the bubble safe and healthy. Once we’re in there, we’ll see what the circumstances are and we’ll go from there. We can’t be scared and worry about everything. We have to just do our job and make sure we do the right thing.

On what type of player will excel without fans:

“Whoever doesn’t need that extra push from the fans. A lot of times that does give you energy and does give you more juice to work hard on defense because the fans get into it but now I think it’s going to be more on us to find that inner energy, inner strength to just play the whole game no matter the score and sometimes it can work for you and sometimes it can work against you. It’s going to be the same for everybody. We’ll just play and see how it goes.

On other athletes choosing not to play their sport due to COVID:

“Everybody’s situation is different obviously. I’m a guy without kids and family and those kinds of things so maybe I’m more fearless in that sense but if you have a different situation then you can’t really judge anyone for making a different decision. I think everyone is just trying to look out for their own families and for their own safety. Whatever everyone decides, that’s the best for them. ”

On quarantine life:

“I did watch Tiger King. It was the most insane series  I’ve ever seen. Every time I thought it was already too much, then something crazier happened. That was my favorite series to watch. I also like to re-watch movies that I know are good movies. So one of my favorite movies of all time is Wolf of Wall Street. There’s just so much action in that movie. It’s one of my favorite ones. I just like to re-watch and put in on in the background. So that’s how I spent some of the time I had off. I spent  a lot of time in the gym and a lot of time with family too.”

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