Emmanuel Mudiay says Knicks are "starting from scratch" under David Fizdale

Little by little, the 2018-2019 roster of the New York Knicks is shaping up.

The rebuilding club recently selected 18-year-old wing Kevin Knox out of the University of Kentucky with the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He will undoubtedly be one of the cornerstones of their future.

Jarrett Jack, Michael Beasley and Kyle O’Quinn are the only veterans from last year’s club that might not return next season. Jack and Beasley had expiring deals while O’Quinn declined his player option, thus becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Enes Kanter will be deciding whether or not to accept his $18.6 million player option for next season in the coming days. Other than that, barring a trade, the Knicks might end up featuring many of the same players next year under new head coach David Fizdale.

While Joakim Noah’s insanely-expensive contract is on the books through the 2019-2020 season and Tim Hardaway Jr.’s lucrative deal runs through 2020-2021, the team will be gaining some financial flexibility in the coming years, which should allow them to make pitches to high-profile free agents.

Since Kristaps Porzingis will miss a large chunk of the upcoming season as a result of his ACL surgery, the Knicks are fully expected to struggle yet again. But, combo guard Emmanuel Mudiay noted that Fizdale’s signing gave the team some new life.

A new era

“We’re all kind of starting from scratch. But it’s a positive scratch. It’s big to see that people are actually loving what the front office is doing, loving what the coaching staff is doing. Everybody’s supportive. So that’s a good thing,” he said at a recent event for his foundation, per ESPN’s Ian Begley.

Mudiay received a second chance and was able to re-start his career with the Knicks after a mid-year trade with the Denver Nuggets last season. Now, he believes the entire team can start fresh.

“It’s like night and day to be honest,” he said. “You could just see people having confidence in themselves. And Fiz did a great job connecting with the players. Not only him but his coaching staff.”

Since Fizdale is regarded as a player’s coach, it’s clear that he has already made an impact on the team’s younger players.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Mudiay will be able to carve out a prominent role for the Knicks in the fall. Since he’ll have to compete with ball-handlers Trey Burke, second-year youngster Frank Ntilikina and the gritty Ron Baker, he will most likely have to make a positive impression quickly.

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