New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale recently visited Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia. The hope is that the foundation has been built for future success.
The New York Knicks are in the midst of an offseason that will go a long way towards defining the success of the Scott Perry Era. Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson were the first draft choices of Perry’s tenure, and David Fizdale was his first hire as head coach.
After Knox and Robinson offered early signs of intrigue at Summer League, it was Fizdale’s turn to prove that Perry was right to believe in him.
Fizdale and his wife, Natasha Sen-Fizdale, recently made the trip to visit Porzingis and his family in Latvia. It was a productive experience, as Fizdale and Porzingis connected on multiple fronts, and discussed a future that will see them depending quite heavily on one another.
According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, an anonymous source explained why it was so important for Fizdale to visit Porzingis and his family.
"“It was important for Coach Fizdale to spend time with Kristaps and his family,” one NBA source who has spoken to Perry told The Post. “It was an opportunity for both the coach and player to get to know each other on a more personal level and also talk basketball. It’s part of establishing the type of culture and interaction necessary to building a strong foundation for this team in both the short and longer term.”"
What transpires on the court will be largely influenced by Fizdale’s strategic approach to the game, but there will always be a human factor at play.
Porzingis, 22, has played for three head coaches in three seasons in the NBA: Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, and Jeff Hornacek. Hornacek was the only coach whom Porzingis played for that lasted two full seasons, and the second campaign ended early for the All-Star big man due to injury.
Thus, if the Knicks are going to help their franchise player realize his potential in New York, creating stability at head coach will be crucial.
Fizdale is certainly off to a strong start, as he’s connected with Porzingis on a level that one could argue the previous coaches were unable to.
There are still questions surrounding when Porzingis will be able to return to the hardwood in 2018-19. He tore the ACL in his left knee in February, and could be sidelined for the entirety of the upcoming regular season.
Regardless of when Porzingis returns to the court, what’s clear is that he’s already bonding with his head coach—a clear sign of progress.
If the New York Knicks are looking for stability at head coach, David Fizdale is certainly making progress towards achieving as much.