New York Knicks head coach Kurt Rambis believes Kristaps Porzingis may be better off without playing in this summer's Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
“When I’m talking about playing, I’m talking about here,’” Rambis told reporters on Friday. “Players growing up today, they play too much. A lot of summer can be used to develop strengths and work on aspects of your game. When you play you’re going back to your strengths and instincts. Sometimes playing can be bad and not conducive to player development.”
“If I had my choice, it’s obvious what I want. But I understand commitment to country. From a selfish standpoint, looking at from a purely Knicks standpoint, we want him working with us.”
Porzingis has yet to make a decision on whether or not he will play for Latvia in Rio. Latvia is set to play in an Olympic qualifying tournament in Serbia in July and may also have to attend the team's training camp. The Knicks also will have players in July's Las Vegas summer league, where practices and games are held.
Latvia is coming off an eighth place finish in EuroBasket 2015 in September. Porzingis did not play in the tournament.
“It’s still up in the air,” Porzingis said. “Once the season is over, I’ll have time to make a decision. It’s important for Latvia. I’m a proud Latvian. I want to represent my country. I got to really think about it and make a decision.”
Porzingis is averaging 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in his rookie season with the Knicks.