An injury is hampering Courtney Lee’s efforts to earn a spot in the Knicks’ rotation, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Lee sat out his second straight preseason game Wednesday while recovering from a neck strain he suffered while being fouled on a layup last week in training camp.
“I’m losing my conditioning — I was in top shape,’’ Lee said. “With the conditioning drill and how we are playing fast, I was in elite shape. That’s the main thing I’m missing now is my wind. All the things they are putting in with plays and sets I’m picking up. It’s about building the chemistry that I’m missing right now.’’
Lee, who calls it “a little whiplash,” is receiving treatment and hopes to return soon. However, he’s falling behind in the competition for playing time as new coach David Fizdale has declared an open competition at all positions. The Knicks explored trade offers for the 33-year-old Lee this summer, and he doesn’t seem to be in their long-range plans.
There’s more today out of New York:
- Rookie Allonzo Trier put on a show with 20 points in the first half of Wednesday’s game, Berman adds in a separate story. Trier finished with 25 points in 26 minutes, causing Fizdale to say afterward that he’s “got a chance” to make the 15-man roster. Trier signed a two-way contract with the Knicks in July after being passed over in the draft. New York probably would have taken him with the 36th pick if Mitchell Robinson hadn’t been available, according to Berman.
- Fizdale is defending Robinson after a clash with Markieff Morris that resulted in the Wizards’ forward being ejected, Berman writes in another piece. Morris made derogatory remarks about Robinson after the game, but Fizdale liked the way his rookie center handled the situation. “I’m always going to protect my guy,” he said. “… I like the fact he didn’t back down. But I felt like he was the one who kept his composure — the one who showed the maturity.”
- The Knicks are still searching for the best role for second-year guard Frank Ntilikina, notes Steve Popper of Newsday. He has been used off the bench in three-guard lineups in each of the first two preseason games and has been assigned to guard small forwards. Trey Burke, who was picked up from the G League last year and has an expiring contract, has been getting the starting nod at point guard.