The New York Knicks have had a very quiet offseason and are set for another disappointing season but there is still optimism around the team.
That’s mainly because of new head coach David Fizdale and his plans for the team moving forward.
The 44-year-old was one of the most sought-after coaches on the market this summer despite being fired by the Memphis Grizzlies last season.
He had interviews with multiple teams including the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns.
But the lure of New York and an opportunity to coach a historic franchise was too much for him to turn down.
Fizdale has huge plans for the Knicks and is ultimately keen on making them contenders in the Eastern Conference again.
He understands it will take time but he’s hoping to use the next 12 months to put the foundations in place.
Fiz knows that if he’s going to have success in the Big Apple, he’ll have to forge a strong relationship with the team’s star player, Kristaps Porzingis.
The big man will miss the majority of next season with an ACL injury but he’s still the face of the team and their future.
In an effort to build an immediate relationship with him, Fizdale visited the 22-year-old in his native Latvia this summer.
He explained that he challenged Porzingis to come back even better from his injury and got a positive response.
“He likes the challenge of me saying ‘I want him to be the MVP’ and ‘I want him to be the Defensive Player of the Year,’” he told Channel 4 New York’s Bruce Beck.
“That’s real competitors they want that and I’m going right at it with him. I want him to look at himself that way.”
Pulling in the same direction
Fizdale is certainly saying and doing all the right things so far and he’s quickly endearing himself to his players and Knicks fans.
New York may have had an underwhelming summer in terms of acquisitions but their new coach is excited about what they’ve done and the direction they’re going in.
“We had an awesome draft with Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Allonzo Trier – our two-way player,” he said.
“Scott (Perry) and these guys are big-time sticking to an awesome plan of bringing in guys that maybe didn’t work out at a place where they were at before but are high draft picks.
“Under some good player development and some culture, maybe they can turn into something close to what they were expected to be … We’re doing it the right way.”
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