Knicks forward Lance Thomas is excited for the upcoming NBA season and is already on the same page as new head coach David Fizdale.
“He’s [Fizdale] very excited about the team,” Thomas said. “We talk about making sure we have a defensive mindset this year. I’m excited about it.”
Fizdale has already made it a point to reach out to the veterans on the team to try and get everyone on the same page well before the season starts, even visiting Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia.
Two newcomers who are sure to see the floor this season are first- and second-round draft picks Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson. Fizdale has said that he wouldn't be opposed to starting Knox as a rookie but explained that everyone is fighting for a spot.
Thomas, who is a captain of the team, is going to step forward as a leader and try to help the young players by changing the culture of the Knicks to a hardworking and winning one.
“I lead by example,” Thomas said. “When you’re in the gym with me and my teammates and you’re not working hard, you’re going to stand out like a sore thumb. That’s the environment that I’ve been trying to set in New York.
“We haven’t had the seasons that we’ve wanted to — record and success-wise — but that doesn't mean guys aren’t getting better, and that guys aren’t learning how to be professionals. When it turns around, and it’s going to turn around, it’s going to be an amazing thing because there’s nothing like winning in New York.”
The captain can already see the hunger for success in the game of the Knicks’ two draft picks.
“I know these guys are excited to win,” Thomas said. “You can just tell from the Summer League they were really going after it. Those guys were playing like they were playing for contracts even though they already have guarantees. I like to see that.
“I love the toughness, I love the grit, and that’s what it takes to survive in New York. If they continue that, I think they’ll be fine.”
Thomas believes that the young players on the team can help make an impact with the help of good coaching and competition in practice. He also expressed his excitement to make the rookies, Knox in particular, better by going after them in practice.
“He’s [Knox] going to have a steady diet of me this year,” Thomas said. “If he can get around me easily, he should be able to get around most guys in the NBA.”