New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis has been pressured by fans to bulk up, but his current focus is strengthening his lower body and core.
The New York Knicks took a chance on a long and wiry big man at the 2015 NBA Draft. Not much was known about Kristaps Porzingis, but some feared that his unique combination of size and shooting ability would be offset by his thin frame.
Porzingis has silenced his critics through three NBA seasons, but a recent injury has complicated the process of addressing his upper body strength.
Porzingis tore the ACL in his left knee in early February. That inevitably created a significant question mark as far as the future of his NBA career is concerned, as lower leg injuries are especially concerning for a player his size—and there haven’t been many who stand at 7’3″ or taller.
In the most recent episode of the Porzingis’ Comeback series, the 22-year-old opened up about his recovery process and expressed that his focus is on his lower body and core.
"“Obviously doing upper body, lifting weights; we’re not too obsessed with that. We don’t want to put on too much weight on a knee coming out of a surgery. The main thing is working on my overall body, on my body mechanics. Just building up my whole body that it’s compact and I’m strong when I come back….I’m healing really fast and we’re doing all the right things to make sure that we don’t rush anything, take our time.”"
Even before the injury, this was an area in which individuals such as Phil Jackson were hoping Porzingis would focus before turning the attention to his arms and chest.
Porzingis has faced steady criticism about his rather thin upper body, primarily when his offensive repertoire has been the topic of discussion. It’s been a constant talking point amongst those who believe it to be the key to unlocking his potential as a dominant post scorer.
Rather than adding new weight for his knees to carry, however, Porzingis is focusing on strengthening his core and lower body.
That may not be the approach that some suggested, but it’s the best possible way for the Latvian phenom to overcome the injury that threatens his development.
By establishing a stronger lower body and core, Porzingis should actually become a more effective post player. He can back opponents down with more efficiency, gaining deep position to utilize his size and length to finish over the average defender.
Bulking up will be a necessary step in the future, but the focal point at the moment should be ensuring that he can alleviate pressure from his knees.
Thankfully, Kristaps Porzingis and the New York Knicks have the right idea about the road to recovery and all it entails.