The FIZ-ard of Oz

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David Fizdale speaking at the Knicks press conference on Tuesday. Photo credit: Mary Altaffler/AP

We are now just about 2 rounds complete in the NBA Playoffs, an intense platform where next month we will crown an NBA Champion. Unfortunately, for the New York Knicks, they have not made a playoff appearance since the 2012-13 campaign. Since then, they have had two other head coaches who were unable to get them to the postseason, let alone build a winning culture for the franchise. On Tuesday afternoon, the Knicks believe they have found their guy who can help build that winning culture the team has been longing for.

As team President Steve Mills and General Manager Scott Perry stood for photos during a press conference, everyone had eyes on the man who stood in the middle with them as former assistant coach/head coach David Fizdale. Fizdale will have some huge shoes to fill as he got his first taste of the New York spotlight. It has been said that although many sources were quite fond of the Brooklyn-born kid and former Knick Mark Jackson taking the job; however, with Jackson and nine other coaches whom had interviewed for the vacancy, the Knicks had zeroed in on Fizdale. With such demands and expectations that comes with being head coach of the Knicks, Fizdale was asked why he decided to take the Knicks job and he answered: “I just felt a real connection to them. How many chances do you get to coach in the Garden? (Madison Square Garden) It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal and I love challenges.” Fizdale has a great reputation of being a superb communicator to players he has coached in the past. Although he had a run-in with Grizzlies’ center Marc Gasol while he was the coach in Memphis, he (Fizdale) has developed great relationships with many star players around the NBA including (dare I say) LeBron James.

Fizdale comes from the Pat Riley tree and was an assistant coach on those Miami Heat teams that won back-to-back NBA Championships a few years back. With Fizdale in play as the team’s coach, the team will now look to build around star player Kristaps Porzingis, who will miss more than half of the upcoming season as he continues to recover from a torn ACL. The Knicks own all of their future first-round draft picks and are projected to have around $30 million in cap space for the summer of 2019. The question is, can Fizdale be the “wizard” the Knicks need to create a winning culture and engage potential free agents to come and take their talents to New York? We shall see how the era of Fizdale begins in New York.

Sports Notes: (Baseball) As we go to press, the New York Yankees have been sizzling, having won 16 of their last 17 games while the Mets try to recover from what has been a tough stretch which saw them fall out of first place for the first time since April 3.    What does the OTP universe think about the Knicks hiring of David Fizdale? Tell me your thoughts and E-mail me at Castroeddie714@gmail.com.