Coach David Fizdale is committed to making rookie Mitchell Robinson his starting center, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Robinson has replaced Enes Kanter, who will enter the free agent market next summer, because Fizdale feels the second-round pick is a “superior natural defender” and he wants the whole team to have a defensive mindset. “He’s going to be our foundation, our anchor of our defense for the future,” Fizdale said. “Let’s get this guy going right now and really commit to the development of these guys and to what it’s going to take to get them to where they need to be for us to be the team we’re going to be later.” By making an early commitment to a youth movement, Knicks appear to have gone into tanking mode early, sacrificing wins this season to improve their draft position.
We have more from the Knicks:
- First-round pick Kevin Knox will likely return on Monday from a left ankle sprain, Berman writes in a separate story. Knox has only played three games and with Fizdale cancelling practice on Thursday, he won’t play against the Mavericks on Friday, according to Berman. Even if Knox practices on Saturday, he’ll likely be held out of playing Sunday against Washington because the team doesn’t want him playing back-to-backs right away, so he’ll return against Chicago on Monday.
- Noah Vonleh has emerged as Kristaps Porzingis‘ fill-in as the starting power forward, Berman notes in another piece. Vonleh signed a partially guaranteed $1.6MM contract that doesn’t fully guaranteed until January 10th but he’s jumped ahead of Mario Hezonja, who signed a one-year, $6.5MM contract in the offseason, in the pecking order. Vonleh only has a cap hold of $1.62MM but he doesn’t want to look too far ahead. “I definitely want to be here in New York, but that’s up in the air,” he told Berman. “I have to focus on this season and go from there.”
- Carmelo Anthony believes the franchise’s reputation scared away top-shelf free agents during his time with the team, as he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “The perception of the organization. I think it probably scared a lot of people away,” he said. “Scared some people away. Not knowing the nuances and the ins and outs of kind of what was going on, who is in charge, who is not. So it was more than just basketball when it came to people making those decisions.”
3 thoughts on “Knicks Notes: Robinson, Knox, Vonleh, Carmelo”
I am pretty happy overall so far. I like that Fiz is committed to playing the youth, and giving minutes to guys who play D. This is still only a 25 win squad (assuming Zinger does miss most or all of the season), but it feels like a much better 25 win squad than what the Knicks have put on the floor in years.
Idk if I consider the Knicks benching Burke, Lance, and Kanter as tanking considering they lost what, 4 games in a row? The kids+Tim lineup has looked much better.