After leading the Knicks in minutes as a rookie last season, Kevin Knox is finding playing time harder to earn, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. His starting job has gone to veteran Marcus Morris, who signed a one-year contract this summer and needs plenty of court time to earn his next one. In addition, Knox’s defensive issues have eroded some of coach David Fizdale’s confidence.
“I let him know why,” Fizdale said of the reduced minutes. “We got candid relationships around here. No one’s got thin skin. He and I have been through a lot together already. He knows where I’m coming from. He knows I want the best for him and I’m going to continue to challenge him. He can accept the challenge. … Like I said, his offense has taken that step forward, now I’m pushing his defense to take that step forward.”
Knox was on the court for less than nine minutes last night and about 10 minutes Wednesday. It’s a difficult adjustment for a player who seemed to be part of the foundation for the future after being selected with the ninth pick last year.
“It was tough, but it was something that had to be done,” Knox said at Friday’s practice. “Fiz made the decision so I just made sure I was the best teammate on the bench, made sure I was cheering my guys on, keeping my guys up. I didn’t want to sit at the end of the bench and sulk and cry and just have an attitude because I wasn’t playing. So I had the right mindset going in. Came in the next day, got my work in, watched film on what I need to get better at so when my opportunity comes next time I can be able to produce.”
There’s more this morning from New York:
- Last night’s debacle against the Spurs won’t help Fizdale keep his job, observes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Fans booed loudly as the team left the court with a 25-point halftime deficit in the worst performance since Fizdale was put on an apparent 10-game alert at a post-game press conference by president of basketball operations Steve Mills on Nov. 10.
- Expectations have fallen for Dennis Smith Jr. since he was acquired from the Mavericks in January, but he is still struggling to meet them, Berman adds in a separate story. A preseason back injury and a two-week absence from the team for a funeral have slowed his progress.
- Watching free agent addition Julius Randle wear No. 30 is a reminder that the Knicks should have retired Bernard King‘s number a long time ago, contends Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post.