Big Plans in the Big City: David Fizdale Planning for Next Season
David Fizdale is optimistic about what he can do with the New York Knicks during this upcoming season. Fizdale recently revealed that he has a plan to get the Knicks back on track: Kristaps Porzingis. It is no secret that the 7’3 dynamo has become the face of New York basketball. As Fizdale stated, he is excited for everything Porzingis will bring to the table next season once he returns from injury. Fizdale isn’t discounting the toll of Porzingis’ injury, but rather expecting greatness in spite of it. Is it realistic, however, to have such high expectations?
Porzingis in Hindsight
Kristaps Porzingis went down with a torn ACL last February, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. Prior to his injury, though, he was having his best season as a professional. Porzingis averaged career highs in points and blocks, with 22.7 points per game and 2.4 blocks per game. Porzingis also grabbed 6.6 rebounds per game, an area where the Knicks stayed relatively strong as a whole. However, before Porzingis got injured, the team was not in any position to break into the playoffs. Without him, the task was impossible. Thus, looking at next season, one can be fairly skeptical on the prospect of any real change for next season.
What’s the difference?
Going into this season, the Knicks will be coming out stronger. The team drafted a potential top tier scorer in Kevin Knox. Mario Hezonja was brought in to play backup to Knox and provide some scoring off the bench. Trey Young, Frank Ntilikina, and Emmanuel Mudiay share the point guard responsibilities, continuing the depth that the team had at that position. Enes Kanter is staying to bolster the team’s rebounding and fans can expect solid production from the sharp shooting Tim Hardaway Jr.
On the defensive side, Fizdale has already expressed plans to utilize Joakim Noah, a former defensive player of the year. Additionally, the Knicks have a true defensive prospect in its newest big man, rookie Mitchell Robinson. Robinson, alongside Knox, shined in the summer league and gave fans a lot to hope for.
Notably, David Fizdale will be the man in charge this time around. He served as an assistant coach to the Miami Heat during the Big 3 era and was known for developing young talent for the Memphis Grizzlies. Sufficient to say, he knows what he’s doing. Many of New York’s players have already taken a liking to Fizdale and his approach to the game, building much needed unity in the team.
By the time Porzingis returns, his team will essentially be younger, better, and deeper than when he left. While it may be wishful thinking, on paper the Knicks have what it takes to at least make a solid run at the playoffs. So where does all this leave Kristaps Porzingis?
The Return of the Unicorn
Porzingis is primed to make a big return to the NBA. The organization has crafted a potentially better team for him to acclimate into. If he can stay healthy once he returns, there is no reason to believe that Porzingis cannot return to the game better than when he left. With that in mind and the understanding that his supporting cast has improved, there is no reason to doubt the effectiveness of David Fizdale’s plan.
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