Kristaps Porzingis expands game in two different areas
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Kristaps Porzingis expands game in two different areas

Second-year power forward Kristaps Porzingis is already taking big leaps in his development as an NBA player.

The 7-foot-3 front court player has made major improvements in the post and beyond-the-arc, which hasn’t taken long to be noticed by his new head coach.

“I think he’s improved greatly from last year watching him shoot,” head coach Jeff Hornacek told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “He’s more confident about the shot. His corner three seems automatic. He’s got the range.… [But] being a tall guy, it’s a different perspective looking at the rim. The tendency is to shoot flat. For us guards, we’re looking up at the rim. … That’s the only thing I mentioned to him. Continue to put the arc in.”

The Latvian international made a third of his three-point attempts and shot 42.1 percent from the floor in his rookie year. He now hopes his work this offseason has been enough to make the strides needed to become a more efficient player from the post and from deep.

“Last year he’d get bumped and fall away and throw up something bad,’’ Hornacek said. “This year he’s taking the bump and falling to the basket. That’s a sign of strength.”

Porzingis weighed 240 pounds last season and was often checked by centers of the opposite team, who can often offer from 20 to 40 pounds of difference. His strength will play a vital role as he becomes a more prominent part of the offense.

He said his brother, Janis, has been trying to get more arc into his shot for five years. The 21-year-old has spent the offseason working on post play, taking thousands of turnaround jumpers.

“As I get stronger I just feel more comfortable playing in the post,” Porzingis said. “It depends on where the team wants to use me more — on the post or perimeter to stretch the floor. I’ll probably get more chances than last year in the post because we’ll have more space.”

It won’t be long until Kristaps Porzingis goes from a number three option to a potential “2-B” along with Derrick Rose. His size and length are a matchup mismatch waiting to happen and once he’s able to exploit them, he’s sure to make them pay.

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