For close to a week, 7-foot-3 Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis played one-on-one with Carmelo Anthony, one of the most potent scorers in the NBA, and "KP" says he learned a little something new every day.
"Whoever you play against, you want to beat him and prove that you can play," Porzingis said Monday at Knicks' media day in Tarrytown. "It was fun just to learn from him and I realized how hard it is to guard him, low-post, high-post. Melo is the best player in those areas so it was a great experience for me just to learn from him."
So who won most of the games to 5?
"Melo is Melo," Porzingis said. "He beat me more than I beat him."
Porzingis was the No. 4 pick in the NBA Draft, and it remains unclear how much the Knicks can expect from him right away as they attempt to rebound from last season's 17-65 disaster. But Anthony has taken the Latvian big man under his wing, and Porzingis hopes they can eventually win an NBA title together.
"This is my dream to play for the Knicks, so this is dream come true," Porzingis said. "There's no better place to win so hopefully some day we can win a championship here and have a big celebration."
For now, Anthony has taken Porzingis under his wing and is trying to teach him the ropes as he enters his first NBA training camp, which begins Tuesday at West Point.
"I kind of feel bad for him because there’s so much pressure on him," Anthony said. "The guy hasn’t even played not one minute in the NBA. So I'm going to try to be a big brother to him and kind of take the pressure off him a little bit. There's going to be so much pressure.
"This is his first time in the NBA, this is new to him. And to be a newcomer into this league, in New York, that’s tough. I don’t think he knows what he’s about to get himself into so I gotta be that wall for him."
Anthony said he's "pretty sure" he'll be playing some 4 (depending on matchups), yet Porzingis and Kyle O'Quinn also play the power forward spot. Regardless, Porzingis can certainly learn a lot from Anthony, who is coming off knee surgery following last season's All-Star Game.
"I'm trying to learn as much as I can from him, asking him questions," Porzingis said. "Being around him all day long is great. I'm trying to get as much information as I can."
Still, Anthony says Porzingis wants to learn "by himself," so he's trying not to overwhelm him with information.
"I'm just there to be that sounding board and let him know what's to come," Anthony said.
Porzingis has also been studying video of Usain Bolt to improve his running technique, though Knicks fans probably shouldn't expect him to be the "World's Fastest Man" anytime soon.
"I was watching video of his running technique," Porzingis said. "I'm interested in sports so I was watching how he runs."
Porzingis is continuing to try to beef his body up, but says it's hard now that camp has begun because he's sweating off whatever weight he has gained. He's listed at 233 pounds. Porzingis thinks he can eventually be more like Pau Gasol, who started out as a thin big man and is now listed at 250 pounds.
"He was like me, skinny," Porzingis said. "But he found a way out of it, he got stronger and now he's one of the best players in this league."
Down the road, Porzingis could become a center, but for now the Knicks have Robin Lopez, Kevin Seraphin and O'Quinn to man that position.
"Obviously, I need to get stronger to guard the 5s but me going up against Kevin Seraphin is great for me every day," he said. "But I still need to add more weight, always be in a low stance so I can guard those guys. If the coach plays me as a five I will do my best to guard those guys but there is still more work to do to be able to guard those guys."