LAS VEGAS — David Fizdale’s message to the Knicks’ veterans and players who started many games last season: You’d better come to training camp ready to work.
Fizdale said he’s not penciling in anyone as starters yet, not even Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter, even though it’s a safe bet they will start. Kristaps Porzingis would start if he weren’t sidelined indefinitely after tearing his ACL. But Fizdale, entering his first season as Knicks coach, wants each player to show him something and earn his job.
“I’m not even going to touch it yet,” Fizdale said after summer league practice Wednesday. “I’m going to let them clash over it. I don’t know what’s going to be best for this group right now. I don’t want to guarantee anybody anything because it totally contradicts the culture. Everything is about you keep what you kill. I want them to go out with a killer attitude and go into training camp trying to earn anything.”
The Knicks are a rebuilding team, and this season will be all about the development of younger players.
Fizdale has been impressed with second-year guard Frank Ntilikina through workouts and summer league practices, but that doesn’t mean Ntilikina will start at either guard spot when the regular season begins.
The Knicks have three players who can play point guard — Ntilikina, Trey Burke and Emmanuel Mudiay. Burke was the most effective player last season, but Fizdale said their play in training camp will determine who wins the job.
“Roll that ball out and whoever takes the spot takes the spot,” he said. “But I see them all playing for me. So I can’t say right now who’s going to start and who’s not going to start. But I see a value in all of them playing for me.”