New York Knicks head coach has high hopes for franchise player Kristaps Porzingis. Fizdale believes Porzingis can produce a decorated career.
Great coaching can turn talent into substance, but every championship vision requires a legitimate franchise player. Thankfully for New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale, he’s taking over a team that has a superstar in the making—one who’s been waiting for direction.
While Kristaps Porzingis’ future has been temporarily complicated by the ACL injury he suffered in February, Fizdale remains confident in what his franchise player can achieve.
Prior to tearing the ACL in his left knee, Porzingis produced what was easily the best season of his three-year career. He averaged a career-high 22.7 points per game, led the NBA in blocks per game and opponent field goal percentage at the rim, and received his first All-Star Game selection.
In an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, Fizdale outright stated his belief that Porzingis could win both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year during his promising career.
For those who can’t access the video:
“[Porzingis is a] big-time worker. I just hope I can add to his game. Put him in positions to be an MVP candidate, if not the MVP. Defensive Player of the Year candidate, if not the Defensive Player of the Year. I’m asking him to do everything, but that’s what megastars do.”
Considering Porzingis has publicly stated that winning Defensive Player of the Year is a personal goal of his, Fizdale is speaking music to the 22-year-old’s ears.
Porzingis is a 7’3″ Goliath of a big with explosive athleticism, uncanny coordination, and the instincts of a mega-star. He also has an outstanding jump shot, a rapidly improving post game, and the handle to attack a closeout.
It’s fair to question what type of impact the knee injury could have on Porzingis’ style of play and explosiveness, but he rarely needs to leave his feet.
With height and skill already working in his favor, Porzingis can focus on strengthening his lower body and building the appropriate mass up top.
As far as the awards are concerned, the player who leads the NBA in blocks per game and opponent field goal percentage at the rim should be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Coupled with his scoring ability, that could birth MVP consideration.
The unpopular truth remains: There simply aren’t many players who are both high-level scorers and elite defenders in the NBA.
With the help of David Fizdale, New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis could be one of the players who bucks the trend and truly dominates the NBA.