With training camp kicking off this week, on-court expectations the Knicks aren’t particularly high for the upcoming season. As Marc Berman of the New York Post explains, the organization has shifted its focus to player development and building a strong culture for the 2018/19 campaign.
After years of misguided attempts to make the playoffs, team president Steve Mills is excited about what the team is building, laying the groundwork with the recent hirings of Scott Perry as GM and David Fizdale as head coach.
Berman points out that all summer the discussion throughout the organization has been about patience, process and not skipping steps, words and phrases you would expect to hear from a team that is finally focused on building a contender in a more efficient manner.
With Kristaps Porzingis expected to miss a good chunk of the season, Fizdale will have the opportunity to work and develop the young players on the team, including 2018 first round pick Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, the talented defensive point guard.
The Knicks have their own 2019 first round draft pick and significant space under the salary cap to spend in free agency should they look to contend in the 2019/20 season. For now, the focus is on player development and instilling a successful culture behind the scenes in order to set the organization up for sustained success in the future.
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson is focused on Brooklyn’s defense in the upcoming season, as he believes it’s the area the team can show the most improvement. Brian Lewis of the New York Post points out that such improvement will have to come organically, as the Nets didn’t add any standout defenders in the offseason despite the plethora of moves they made to improve their roster.
- Despite all of the offensive firepower and talent on the Celtics‘ roster, head coach Brad Stevens still has concerns heading into the upcoming campaign. As Steve Bulpett writes for The Boston Herald, Stevens wants to make sure the Celtics don’t simply go through the motions on the offensive end of the court as a result of their talent and depth.
- From their change in head coach to the addition of Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors are preparing for a training camp and season like no other, says Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. All eyes will be on the Raps this season as they look to not only compete for a championship, but also work to convince Leonard to re-sign in the 2019 offseason.