The New York Knicks could potentially be without Kristaps Porzingis for the entire 2018-19 season but they're hoping he can be the cornerstone of their franchise for years to come.
New head coach David Fizdale made it a priority to build an immediate relationship with the power forward and travelled to his native Latvia to meet him face to face this summer.
Fizdale knows how important the 23-year-old is to the future of the Knicks and believes he can turn him into an MVP candidate.
The meeting between the two seemingly went well and although Porzingis is recovering from a torn ACL, coach Fiz is expecting big things from him when he returns and sees him becoming a "megastar".
“The best way to describe him is he’s the future of the NBA,” Fizdale said, per NBC Sports.
“Look around who’s playing (deep in the postseason). They all got guys super long, super athletic, super skilled, super tough-minded.
"He fits all of the qualities of a megastar and a guy who can really propel a franchise forward to high places.”
Fizdale revealed that he was ready to discuss basketball and watch clips with the young big man but they didn't end up doing so as they were having a good time just getting to know each other.
“I felt I knew him already,” Fizdale said. “It was fun. I had my offence and defence ready to show him, but we didn’t watch one speck of film.”
This is a hugely positive sign for the team as it's crucial for a head coach and star player to be on the same page.
Learning from mistakes
Their new man at the helm knows this better than most as he lost his job with the Memphis Grizzlies last season after falling out with Marc Gasol.
It's clear that he wants to avoid a repeat of that situation and has set the foundation for a positive relationship with Porzingis.
Fizdale may be excited by the prospect of working with the former number four overall pick but as he'll be out for several months, his focus must be on the players available to him.
The upcoming campaign will be a rebuilding year for the Knicks as they look to develop their young players.
Their number nine draft pick Kevin Knox showed a lot of promise at Summer League and could be in for a solid rookie season.
It'll also be important to get the best out of second-year guard Frank Ntilikina, who showed flashes of his talent last year.
New York fans would prefer to see their team win immediately but they're finally building something and patience will be the key to bringing success back to the Big Apple.
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