When the New York Knicks signed David Fizdale to be their next head coach, a new era began.
Additionally, a new culture was immediately put into place.
Fizdale immediately began connecting with the team’s younger players after he was hired. In fact, he even took Frank Ntilikina, Troy Williams, Emmanuel Mudiay and Damyean Dotson to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Not only was it a cool experience for the young men, but it was a learning experience and an indication of what the future could hold if all goes to plan.
Something that Fizdale has made very clear is that players on his team will have to earn their roles.
On Wednesday, he reiterated that no Knick is guaranteed a spot in the starting five with the lone exception of Kristaps Porzingis, who is sidelined while recovering from his ACL tear.
No one is safe
“I’m not even going to touch it yet,” Fizdale said after summer league practice Wednesday, per Al Iannazzone of Newsday. “I’m going to let them clash over it. I don’t know what’s going to be best for this group right now. I don’t want to guarantee anybody anything because it totally contradicts the culture. Everything is about you keep what you kill. I want them to go out with a killer attitude and go into training camp trying to earn anything.”
All eyes will be on the starting point guard spot as the summer rolls on. New York has three players — Trey Burke, Ntilikina and Mudiay — who could be capable of filling that role. But, it’s clear that all three will likely be in the equation in some way, shape or form.
“Roll that ball out and whoever takes the spot takes the spot,” he said. “But I see them all playing for me. So I can’t say right now who’s going to start and who’s not going to start. But I see a value in all of them playing for me.”
Although Fizdale’s comments were indicative of a new culture that demands accountability, it was slightly surprising to not hear him guarantee Enes Kanter or Tim Hardaway Jr. in the starting five. Kanter just accepted his player option worth $18.6 million for the upcoming campaign and Hardaway will be in his second season of a four-year, $70.9 million contract.
Therefore, they’re likely going to start.
Nonetheless, it seems as though the new coach is going to demand a lot from his players, regardless of salary of past production.News Now - Sport News