Knicks Notes: Knox, Ntilikina, Porzingis, Ujiri

Knicks head coach David Fizdale is using the term “tough love” to describe his decision to bench second-year forward Kevin Knox, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Knox was held out of Friday’s loss to the Sixers and had only been averaging 12.1 minutes per night in the previous four games. It’s been a trend for the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft, whose minutes have fallen from 28.8 per game in 2018/19 to 19.8 this season.

“Sometimes they’ve got to go through some tough love to find themselves and watch the game from 25,000 feet, see it, and see the things that I’m emphasizing,” Fizdale said after Saturday’s practice. “I was tough on Frank (Ntilikina) last year and I just feel like Frank has come back with a whole different mindset about how he’s going to go about this season. I’ve been so happy with the way he’s played and produced. But I do think a little bit of tough love on some of these young guys isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

Knox will be “a consideration, for sure” to return to the lineup today, Fizdale added. Marcus Morris is listed as questionable for the game because of cervical spasms in his neck.

There’s more from New York this morning:

  • Ntilikina tells Botte that he benefited from last year’s experience and encourages Knox to find ways to help the team when he’s not on the court. Ntilikina began this season out of the rotation, but has made 14 consecutive starts at point guard. He said an offseason meeting with Fizdale gave him a new perspective. “There’s a lot of noise with this team, a lot of expectations,” Ntilikina explained. “Around this city, a lot of expectations. Obviously, those expectations are for us to get better. But what we have to understand, too, is we have expectations, and [Fizdale] wants us to get better, and he wants us to be the best team possible. He wants us to be the best possible, that’s the same for every player.”
  • Former Knicks guard Trey Burke, who was part of the package sent to Dallas in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, offered some insight into Porzingis’ perspective on the deal and his falling out with management in New York, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. “A lot of things the press said, he felt like wasn’t true,’’ Burke said. “He feels like there was a narrative that got out about him, he couldn’t defend himself. I don’t know if (Dallas) told him not to talk that much, but he wasn’t talking. I do think he has his side.’’
  • The Knicks may try to lure Raptors executive Masai Ujiri after the season ends, and there are fears in Toronto that he might accept their offer, according to Steve Popper of Newsday. Ujiri may view New York City as a larger platform to help expand his Giants of Africa foundation, which aids children in his home continent.
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10 thoughts on “Knicks Notes: Knox, Ntilikina, Porzingis, Ujiri

  1. baseballhaha

    Ya ya ya. Just like they said Ujiri would go to Washington to improve his political connections. Not happening NY.

    • Theone23

      Agreed, not a chance. The report of “fears” out of Toronto that he will bolt to NY are likely the work of the Knicks. Too bad James Dolan, try and poach someone else’s president, or better yet, go out and find your own.

  2. Theone23

    Just like how the Knicks think every major free agent wants to sign in NY. Except, they don’t, and haven’t signed a major FA in the last 20 years. Masai is staying in Toronto. Book it.

  3. greg1

    Why would someone with Masai’s track record and respect across basketball want to work for Dolan?

    I have continued to support my lovable losers, but I am starting to hit the breaking point. This only gets better when JD sells the team, period. Go away Dolan, crawl back under the rock you slithered out from.

  4. osonvs

    Those people saying that Toronto fears Ujiri may go to New York must be the same people who are still saying the Raptors are a 7th to 8th seed at best in the East.

  5. KnickerbockerAl

    Agents, players everyone uses NY. To up the ante. It’s not always the NY teams. This whole rebuilding is out of whack. Phil started it. They should have let him finish. We all know Dolan n the media always get in the way. there’s talent on this team. Plus there’s a move to be made at deadline or sooner. It takes a certain kind of player to play in NYC. This management is out of touch. There’s no real direction. Lottery picks who they don’t trust or develop. GM and coach have to go. Mills, Perry, Fizdale all need to GO.

  6. greg1

    There’s talent on this team?

    Outside of Robinson, who Fiz is completely ruining this year, and Barrett, name a 3rd.

    Frank, Knox, Randle? Come on, the Knicks are devoid of real talent. Rotation vets, sure, but how do the Knicks move those bloated salaries at the deadline without taking back bad money to get picks? And who takes those picks and turns them into foundational players. Heck, the Knicks 2nd round pick (Mitch) and undrafted FA (Trier) have both proven to be tremendously better than top 10 pick KK.

  7. steve

    After he said we need some tough love for knox so he can be like Frank and showed frank love id expect something positive and encouraging to be said about knox. And id still be here saying “kinda throwin shade puttin dude in the dog house and taking time to praise Frank when asked about it. But he didnt even do that lols. DANG.

  8. The Stooges don’t understand player development, and that, more than the record, is why they must all be shown the door at year’s end. Fizdale has a background in player development as an AC, but doesn’t understand it organizationally or even from the standpoint of the HC. Pretty shameless for him to compare Frank (who he never liked and wanted dealt for scraps at draft time) to Knox (who, from the start, he indulged with unearned playing time, without expectations or accountability).

    • 4Quarters

      it took a minute, but you’re speaking facts man. Props. Didn’t always see things from your vantage point, but this one is spot on

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