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New York Knicks coach David Fizdale has finished his trip to Latvia where he met and connected with star forward Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks’ brass is thrilled with how things went, according to a report from Marc Berman of The New York Post.
Besides building a relationship with Porzingis, Fizdale watched film of Porzingis’ game with the Knicks star. The new Knicks coach also showed Porzingis summer-league footage of rookie Kevin Knox and explained how the two can become a dynamic duo for the next several years.
“It was important for coach Fizdale to spend time with Kristaps and his family,” one NBA source told The New York 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.”
Porzingis suffered a torn left ACL in February and underwent season-ending surgery shortly after. The 7-footer and the Knicks have been vague about when the power forward is expected to be ready to play again.
Before getting hurt, Porzingis was averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 48 games while shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from three.
While on the trip, Fizdale did an interview with a Latvian television network and said it was important for him to get to know Porzingis and his family.
“The NBA is a small world and you kinda know people from afar,” Fizdale said in an interview with Latvian television network LSM. “But this trip is more about getting to know him intimately. Know his family, know where he’s from, kinda get to see what made him Kristaps.
“We’ve talked about his rehab. We’ve talked about how we want to play, our style of play. Talked a lot about the culture that we’re building. We wanna make sure that he comes back strong and healthy (from his ACL surgery) and we don’t want to rush it. We’ve had some really good conversations. We talked about the kids we drafted. I’ve tried to make sure that we’ve been in communication on every decision that we’ve made.”