LAS VEGAS — Kevin Knox spent the first practice of summer league playing both forward positions. The Knicks rookie had better get used to it.
David Fizdale continues to talk about playing positionless basketball. The more versatile you are, the better for the system of the Knicks’ new coach.
“He’s kind of having me handle the ball, setting the picks,” Knox said Tuesday. “He kind of has me everywhere. He said that’s the type of player I am, so just show my versatility.”
After the Knicks took Knox with the No. 9 pick in last month’s draft, Fizdale didn’t rule out starting him. There’s a long time to go before the real games start, and earlier this week, the Knicks agreed to terms with swingman Mario Hezonja, who will get a chance to prove himself. But this season is about developing young players and laying a foundation for the future. Knox, 18, appears to be a part of that future and already is changing something from his past.
During his freshman year at Kentucky, the 6-9 Knox heard criticism that he didn’t always play with the same energy. He didn’t disagree with it.
Knox has been working on his conditioning since his college season ended. He said he’s doing “a lot of sprints,” is working out two or three times a day and is in better shape now than he was at Kentucky.
“People are going to talk all the time, criticize you,” he said. “I listened to my parents, listened to my coaches. They said the same thing. I kind of got better at it.
“I worked on my conditioning a lot this summer as far as getting in extra sprints so I keep my motor up the whole game. You’re going to get tired at some point during the game. It’s good we got a lot of guys that if I have to sub myself out so I can be on the court 100 percent playing with full energy.”
The Knicks will open their summer league schedule Saturday against the Hawks. Knox isn’t setting any individual goals for summer league, just team ones.
“I just want to win,” he said. “That’s all I care about. I just want to win. I want to make it to the championship. That makes everyone on the team look better. I’m not worried about personal stats. It’s summer league. I’m just trying to win and get a feel for the game and a feel for my teammates.”
Knicks sign two. The Knicks signed former North Carolina forward Isaiah Hicks and former Arizona wing player Allonzo Trier to two-way contracts Tuesday. Both players are on the Knicks’ summer league team.
Hicks also received a two-way deal last summer. He averaged 4.4 points in 18 games for the Knicks in 2017-18 and helped their G League team reach the playoffs.