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Knicks practice notes: Bernard King returns to his court

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Plus some injury notes

New York Knicks/Twitter

Continuing the new (and refreshing!) tradition of bringing in wily old vets of Knicks teams past to talk to the current squad of youngsters, David Fizdale had another special guest in at practice in Atlanta today — Bernard King!

In typical Fizdalian fashion, he’s quick to point out just how good his special guest was at basketball and how much he admires him. King was able to give some valuable advice to the mostly-26-years-old-and-under Knicks (per Chris Iseman):

“He talked about his first year with the team and how they started off 0-7,” Fizdale said. ”By the second half they were one of the better teams playing. That’s the exact message to this team — don’t get caught up right now in wins, losses, all of that. Just keep your mind on work and your craft. That’s really what he was preaching to them.”

But Fizdale also wants to develop a relationship between King and Kevin Knox.

”No one can talk about scoring and preparing and having a game built for certain areas of the floor better than Bernard King,” Fizdale said. ”And he’s ours so I’m going to use him the best I can. You can see they’re over there talking now as we speak. I just think he’s going to be a great influence on Kevin.”

One part of that quote made me smile: “He’s ours.” For an organization that had consistently turned down the tutelage of its legends, to have guys like King, Clyde Frazier, Rasheed Wallace and more mentoring the neophytes is a welcome addition.

For those unfamiliar with King, he played three mostly full seasons in a Knick uniform before tearing his ACL and missing the better part of his last two seasons in New York, then signing with the Washington Bullets to finish out his Hall of Fame career. But his impact on the Knicks is still felt today — his single-season scoring average of 32.9 points per game in 1984-85 still holds up as the highest number in Knicks history. (Worth noting — he had a 35.1 percent usage rate that season! That’s crazy!)

A little more before tonight’s action:

Considering Hardaway is back in the starting lineup, it’s reasonable to assume that his back soreness is behind him and he’s ready to rock. If Lance is out, that could potentially free up more minutes for Kevin Knox in an increasingly crowded rotation. Seems Fizdale may have similar plans:

Less Lance, more Dotson and Knox? Works for me!