David Fizdale Says He Wants to Take Knicks to NBA Championship

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2018

New York Knicks NBA basketball team new head coach David Fizdale speaks during an introductory news conference, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in New York. The Knicks announced the hiring Monday after agreeing to terms with the former Memphis Grizzlies coach last week.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

David Fizdale has an end goal in mind as the head coach of the New York Knicks—the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

While visiting Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia, the new Knicks coach gave an interview to Sportacentrs.com and discussed wanting a championship in the Big Apple, via Marc Berman of the New York Post.

"I want to take the Knicks to the championship," Fizdale said. "This is my main and greatest goal—to win the title for New York. Every morning is with this thought. Visiting Latvia and building of relationships with players so that they are more than simple coach-player relations, I believe that establishing such a link is a way to overcome the difficulties in the playoffs."

Fizdale also said he is looking for Porzingis to become more of a leader and stressed the tension that led the big man to skip his 2017 exit meeting with former Knicks president Phil Jackson and coach Jeff Hornacek is a thing of the past.

Winning a championship in the immediate future is extremely unlikely for New York considering Porzingis will miss the start of the season as he recovers from his knee surgery. Still, the 22-year-old is an integral building block and reached his first All-Star game last season behind 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

Looking at things from a big picture, New York didn't even make the playoffs the last five years and won a whopping one postseason series since the 1999-2000 season. It was in the NBA Finals in 1999 and 1994 but lost both times, and the only head coach to bring the Knicks a championship is Red Holzman.

His teams won the 1970 and 1973 NBA Finals.

The current iteration of the Knicks were an ugly 29-53 last season but do have Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox as young pieces to build around moving forward. More additions will surely be needed for Fizdale to accomplish his goal, even if a team outside of LeBron James' will reach the Finals in the East for the first time in nine seasons after he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Fizdale reached the playoffs in his only full season as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies and helped James win titles as an assistant on the Miami Heat, but leading the Knicks to the NBA mountaintop would be his most impressive accomplishment to date.