GREENBURGH — Trae Young has not been to a game at Madison Square Garden. He has been on a tour there, however, visiting with his AAU team in fifth grade.
“We found a way to get into the Garden and look around a little bit,” the Oklahoma point guard said Tuesday, adding with a smile that the thought of playing for the Knicks is “pretty cool.”
Perhaps, this childhood memory explains why Young, who led the nation in scoring and assists last year, decided to work out for the team Tuesday, despite the fact that many think he will be gone by the time the Knicks pick at No. 9. The other three teams Young is visiting are Atlanta, Orlando and Chicago, which have the No. 3, 6 and 7 picks, respectively.
Though some see the 19-year-old Young as a poor fit for the Knicks — they already have a glut of young point guards and really could use a good small forward or two-guard — Young said that the team was pretty persistent about getting him in for a workout.
This could mean that the Knicks are thinking about moving up a few spots or want to be prepared in the off chance that he is still available when they pick at No. 9. Young, whose stock went down a bit when he had a slump late last season, said he is more concerned about whom he plays for than where he goes.
“I just hope I go to the right team, no matter what,’’ Young said. “Whether that’s one, whether that’s nine, it’s not up to me. I just hope I get picked by the right team and the team that really wants me and a team where I can help and take it to the next level.”
Young has been compared by some to Stephen Curry, whom the Knicks were one spot away from being able to draft in 2009 when the Warriors took him with the No. 8 pick. Young’s exciting game and accompanying swagger has to be appealing to the Knicks, who are starting the rebuild process again this year with a new coach, David Fizdale.
“My confidence level never varies,” Young said. “I felt like what I did this year on the collegiate level by leading the country in points and assists, I think that shocked a lot of people, but it really didn’t shock me. So just my confidence level is never going to change. I want to do something different in this league, even as a rookie.”
Notes and quotes: Keith Smart will join Fizdale’s staff as an assistant coach, a league source said. Smart, a former head coach for Golden State and Sacramento, worked with Fizdale in Miami and Memphis. Former Clippers assistant and New Jersey native Pat Sullivan will be another addition to the Knicks’ bench, the league source confirmed. Sullivan has worked as an assistant with the Nets, Pistons and Wizards. New York native Royal Ivey, who was an assistant in Oklahoma City, will also be on Fizdale’s staff, the league source confirmed. ESPN.com first reported that Sullivan agreed to join the Knicks. . . . Dr. Lisa Callahan, chief medical officer and senior vice president of player care for MSG Sports, has been named president of the NBA Physicians Association. Callahan, who was elected by her fellow team physicians, is the first woman to serve in this role.
With Al Iannazzone