Stability. When you think of championship franchises and culture, that one word often comes to mind. Stability with the players, coaches, management, and schedule. With players signing short-term deals and coaches forever on the hot seat, it’s no wonder teams simply haven’t been able to get it together. The New York Knicks have been one of those unfortunate franchises.
Player and coaching turnover has been quicker in New York than the subway turnstile in rush hour. The Knicks were lucky enough to draft an All-Star in Kristaps Porzingis. However, that seems to have been the highlight of the team’s recent history:
2014 – Knicks fire Head Coach Mike Woodson (109-79 win/loss record in 2+ seasons); hire Derek Fisher with no coaching experience
2015 – Knicks draft Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth pick in the first round
2016 – Knicks fire Derek Fisher; Kurt Rambis remains the interim coach through season end; Knicks hire Jeff Hornacek; They have zero draft picks
2017 – Knicks draft Frank Ntilikina with the eighth pick in the first round; trade away Carmelo Anthony
2018: Knicks fire Jeff Hornacek
Enter David Fizdale. With the reputation of being a player’s coach, he’s exactly what the Knicks needed. A fresh voice, fresh eyes, and a defined idea of what he envisions for the team.
David Fizdale says Emmanuel Mudiay has been steady thus far, noting he may have the fewest turnovers of any Knick in training camp. Fizdale wants 2 ball-handlers in his lineups and prioritizes constant ball-movement. “If you can’t get it done in one second, get off it,” he says. pic.twitter.com/VIHIjODAFO
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 28, 2018
With Carmelo Anthony as one of the only players who could create a shot for himself, the Knicks offense was often stagnant. Ball handlers like Raymond Felton, Jose Calderon and Langston Galloway (to name a few) either did not possess a consistent outside shot or were not aggressive enough to force ball movement. Fizdale clearly wants to re-write the script. He will have ample time to implement his desired foundation while Porzingis nurses his knee injury.
Returning veterans Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr., with young guys like Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay, are the perfect mix for what should be a cohesive locker room. We can’t forget the promise shown in NBA Summer League by Knicks rookie Kevin Knox:
Kevin Knox looked like the real deal in Summer League. Knicks got a good one. pic.twitter.com/hyveKxFxNl
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) July 15, 2018
Defensively, expect the Knicks to play more like the modern “switch everything” schemes as seen around the league. With only one player on the roster shorter than 6’3″ (Trey Burke – 6’1″), Fizdale will be like a kid in a toy shop with everything at his disposal.
When asked about it, David Fizdale mentions cohesion among players and playing defense with an edge as some of the things you should expect to see from the Knicks this season: pic.twitter.com/005e0PrXg1
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 27, 2018
With this new energy at Madison Square Garden, hopes are high for the future. As fans patiently await the return of Porzingis, they will have plenty to look forward to. Coaching style, rookie and veteran development, and culture. If owner James Dolan steers clear of basketball-related activities, Fizdale is in prime position for his impact to be felt.
The fans of New York are tough. Fizdale should be preparing for a wild ride.