The Knicks season came to an end and David Fizdale’s mental game of treating this like a playoff Game 7 didn’t quite work out. But he does plan on having his young players get a taste of the playoffs even if they didn’t come close to making it.
Emmanuel Mudiay and Noah Vonleh were in street clothes in what was likely their last game with the Knicks, along with Frank Ntilikina and Allonzo Trier. Dennis Smith Jr. was in uniform, but was a late scratch with back and knee soreness. But Fizdale has plans for them.
“We’re going to do that again,” Fizdale said. “We’re going to take multiple guys to all over. This year I’m going to have the assistants doing it. Some of the assistants take a guy here, I’ll take a guy there. We’re going to cover a lot of series with these guys. Experiencing that environment, I really thought that was good for Frank and [Damyean] Dotson and Mud last year to go into Boston and watch Boston and Cleveland battling it out. You’ve got to see it and experience it before you ever get there.”
Fizdale said he will give the players a brief time away before getting them back to work.
“We give them a couple of weeks,” he said. “And get them right back to it. Obviously, you want them to get off their legs a bit and rest their body. Like I told all of them, don’t just cash in all the conditioning you’ve built up to this point and have to start from scratch. They understand that. They’re all starting to feel a little better about their game. None of them are looking to take a big break. They want to get right back to it and keep it moving in the right direction.”
Coaching staff stays
Fizdale said that he has no plans to shift around his coaching staff, keeping the same group intact. With a focus on player development he went with a young staff this season and when asked if with what the Knicks hope will be a more competitive and experienced team next season he would add a veteran coach, he declined.
“No I like these guys,” he said. “These guys are good. They know their stuff. They know their craft. We got some really knowledgeable guys. Guys who have played in wars and coached in some. We still have a lot of teaching to do. These guys are really good teachers. We’re going to add veterans obviously next year but we’ll still have a pretty big core group of young guys who are going to need a lot of attention. We like how we look right now. I like our stuff.”