David Fizdale, the new head coach of the New York Knicks, met with the media that will be hawking him for his entire tenure at Madison Square Garden in an introductory press conference on Tuesday morning where he immediately delved into his plans moving forward.
The hottest topic on everyone's mind was injured star Kristaps Porzingis, who will now be playing under his fourth-different head coach in as many years in the NBA when he makes his return from a torn ACL suffered in February. While it was initially reported that the Latvian might be able to return by Christmas, there are no doubts if he'll even be able to see the court during in 2018-19.
Regardless, Fizdale sees an incredible future alongside Porzingis.
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"He's the future of the NBA," Fizdale said. "You look at all these teams that are still playing right now and they all got guys who are super long, super athletic, super skilled, super tough-minded, are incredible workers and that is what [Porzingis] embodies... He fits all the qualities of a megastar and a guy who can really propel a franchise forward to high places."
Porzingis was developing into that megastar before his injury, averaging a career-high 22.7 points per game during his first season without Carmelo Anthony, who was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder shortly before the start of the 2017-18 campaign.
And while the 22-year-old is considered the face of New York's franchise for the foreseeable future, the relationship between player and organization aren't necessarily at its most stable status. Last summer, Porzingis skipped out on his end-of-season exit interviews with former team president Phil Jackson and current president Steve Mills due to frustration in the way the team was being run.
With a contract extension for Porzingis being a priority among Knicks management, even if they haven't opted to discuss it, the relationship has to be smoothed out between the two parties. Fizdale isn't wasting any time, either.
"We're working on that right now," Fizdale replied when asked if he'll visit Porzingis in Latvia this summer. "The plane's warming up."
While the two haven't met yet, New York's new head coach is already scheming on how he'll utilize the 7-foot-3 star. The thing is, there are no rules to his gameplan.
When asked if he'll play Porzingis at power forward, his preferred position, or at center, Fizdale said that he will play "all of it. Why limit it? Why put a ceiling on him?"
In the meantime, Fizdale will have to navigate the first few months of his time in New York without his new star.
"Guys are going to have to step up into bigger roles," he said. "We're really going to build something here. I'm going to fully embrace that."