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Knicks news: Kristaps Porzingis believes leadership role will come ‘naturally’

Kristaps Porzingis

The New York Knicks embark on a new chapter in this post-Carmelo-Anthony era, opting for third-year forward Kristaps Porzingis to lead the charge coming into this season as the team’s cornerstone player.

Porzingis averaged the most points per game, putting up 18.1 points —- besting his 14.3 points from an impressive rookie season.

Now with more touches, space and a clear support from the coaching staff, Porzingis believes his role as the primary scorer will naturally evolve within the game.

“I think it’s going to come to me naturally,’’ Porzingis said of his leadership role, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. “I don’t need to force it. First thing I’ll do is be the hardest-working guy. We have a bunch of guys who work hard. I will work hard also and give an example. From that hard work, you can be a leader and give it to your teammates.”

“I’m still trying to get better as a basketball player, but also working on those leadership skills. As we move forward, I’m only going to get better at it.”

The Latvian international has played for his home country at this year’s EuroBasket, showing clear signs of being the top dog, putting up tall performances in every game, culminating in a 34-point explosion in a narrow loss to Slovenia in the quarterfinals.

Porzingis has put on some work to round out his game, ranging from some sweat in the gym to some skill work on the hardwood during this summer.

“The goal this summer wasn’t going to get bigger and gain weight,’’ Porzingis said. “The weight is going to come to me naturally. It was to get stronger, get more explosive, kind of get tighter. That’s going to help me everywhere on the floor.”

“I worked on my post game. I played a lot more in the post in EuroBasket. They’re not that physical. But I think I improved on that and I’m excited to show that in the games. That’s one thing I want to show. And I also, I worked on some moves and also I’m excited for a new season, for new things that people are going to see from me.”