Atlantic Notes: Fizdale, Knox, Tatum, Sixers GM

The Knicks‘ new head coach, David Fizdale, has yet to coach a single game with the team, but he’s optimistic about the direction the organization is going. Fizdale spoke with NBC New York’s Bruce Beck and spoke glowingly of his relationship with Kristaps Porzingis and the team’s talent acquisitions in the NBA Draft (via the New York Post).

“It’s already happening,” Fizdale said about the Knicks’ franchise rebirth. “Kristaps will come back healthy. He was already having a big-time season last year when he got knocked down. We had an awesome draft with Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Allonzo Trier — our two-way player. Scott [Perry] and these guys are sticking to an awesome plan, bringing in guys maybe that didn’t work out at a place before but are high draft picks. [With] good player development, good culture, they can turn into something they were expected to be. We’re doing it the right way.”

Fizdale was hired to replace Jeff Hornacek, who was relieved of his duties after the season. After a tumultuous exit from the Grizzlies last season, Fizdale himself is seeking a fresh start in New York.

Check out more Atlantic Division notes below:

  • Former NBA player Jimmy Jackson spoke to Marc Berman of the New York Post ahead of Big3 Finals on Friday about the Knicks’ selection of Kevin Knox. Jackson spoke highly of Knox and compared to him to one budding NBA superstar. “He’s a bigger version of Devin Booker,’’ Jackson said. “He’s got all the same skills but he’s taller.”
  • The Celtics originally held the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft but decided to trade down. Boston still got their target in Jayson Tatum, who joked that Danny Ainge‘s decision cost him some money due to the NBA’s rookie scale. “I joke with Danny all the time, he should’ve just took me No. 1,” Tatum said on The Bill Simmons Podcast at The Ringer. “I could’ve kept a few dollars of my paycheck. Tell (Ainge), ‘You owe me some money.'”
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer appeared on Chris Mannix’s podcast at Yahoo Sports and discussed the Sixers‘ search for a general manager (via NBC Sports). Pompey said that Philadelphia’s search is focused on a person who will not necessarily have the final say on personnel decisions, but instead be part of a group decision. Pompey named David Heller – who worked with former GM Sam Hinkie and is part of the ownership group – as one voice in those collaborative decisions. Pompey has previously indicated the Sixers hope to hire someone who will be able to work together with other front office members to make decisions.
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