DETROIT — If Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry are antsy over the team’s 1-6 start, they have not conveyed that to coach David Fizdale.
The common refrain is this newly constructed roster with 10 new faces is going to take some time to mesh. The Knicks are tied with New Orleans for the NBA’s worst start.
“They’ve been incredibly supportive,” Fizdale said after Wednesday’s morning shootaround at Detroit Country Day before the Knicks faced the Pistons. “We talk every day. The beauty of what’s happening inside our building is everyone is connected. They all see the work that we’re putting in.”
The Knicks didn’t look connected on the court in Sunday’s Sacramento debacle during which fans booed and there were a couple of faint, brief “Fire Fizdale” chants.
Fizdale’s record in his two seasons as Knicks coach is now 18-71. He was axed after 19 games of his second season in Memphis in his last head-coaching stint after a 7-12 start in 2017-18 while feuding with center Marc Gasol.
Asked about Sunday’s jeers, Fizdale said, “I don’t think about that. I was more concerned about our performance from my seat. I can’t be caught up with how everybody else was feeling.”
With the Pistons missing Blake Griffin (knee/hamstring) and Reggie Jackson (stress reaction), the Knicks have an opportunity to avoid going into the Kristaps Porzingis Game on Friday in Dallas with a 1-7 record.
The film sessions after the Sacramento game were detailed – and ugly. It appeared the defense didn’t come close to showing the effort it displayed in prior games.
“You show them the truth,” Fizdale said. “The good part about our team is they handled the truth well because they want to get better from it. And then a game like that, you flush it down the toilet.”
The Kings built a 20-point lead early in the third quarter and were up by as many as 34.
“We were not connected,” Fizdale said after the film analysis. “Total breakdown in trust. Our coverages, we did not play in a stance the whole game. Offensively, the ball stopped. It was a total nightmare. We did not do anything we prepared to do.
“We have a really high-character group. It’s just a matter of time before they figure each other out and come together.”
Fizdale said he doubts point guard Dennis Smith Jr. will join the team in Dallas – meaning Smith won’t even be on the bench for his first return to Big D since January’s trade. Smith has been mourning the loss of his stepmother in North Carolina.
Even when he’s back with the club, the young point guard will need time to get back into condition, especially considering he’s dealt with back issues. It’s unclear how much working out Smith has done since leaving the team 10 days ago.
“Even once he gets back, I don’t want to just throw him back out there because he hasn’t done a lot,” Fizdale said. “We’ll try to get his legs underneath him before we put him back on the court.”
For more on the Knicks, listen to the latest episode of the “Big Apple Buckets” podcast:
Credit: Source link