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David Fizdale press conference wrap-up

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Notes and Quotes!

Ian Begley

David Fizdale’s introductory press conference was today. If you would like to watch it in all it’s 240p mono glory, it is here:

Woo! Knicks fans do love a New Coach Rollout, and this one is no exception. Give us all the coaches!

This introduction was pretty good! Mills and Perry hit all the right notes in the beginning. Accountability, culture, etc. Then on to the main event: Coach Fiz.

Let’s dive right into my poorly scribbled notes!

  • First question to Coach was on Kristaps Porzingis, and Fizdale’s general impression of him. Fiz said he thought KP was the future of the NBA, and that if you look at the teams that are still around they all have a KP-like player.
  • He’s also planning that trip to Latvia right now.
  • Fizdale’s firing from Memphis and the tension with Marc Gasol was brought up. This allowed Steve Mills to go back to the basic themes of the presser: accountability, ownership and learning from mistakes. Mills said that this was one of the areas where they were actually really impressed with Fizdale. Fizdale said that he took complete ownership of the problems with Gasol, that it is his job to create good relationships, and he was trying to learn from his mistakes.
  • Scott Perry mentioned that one thing they liked a lot from Fizdale’s time in Miami was the conditioning of the team, and said that they were consciously trying to improve physical conditioning. They want to be the fittest team in the league.
  • Fizdale was asked about playing KP at the 5. He said that he didn’t want to limit him in any way or put ceilings on him, and that there were many ways to use him, including positionless. He sounded very open to KP at center but didn’t want to make decisions until he had a chance to work with him in person.
  • Fizdale was asked what it means for the team to have no KP for a great deal of next year. He said it was a great opportunity and meant the other guys have to step up. Need to create a “family of accountability,” especially on the defensive end.

(Earlier in the presser he shouted out to Emmanuel Mudiay, who was there with O’Quinn, Burke and Thomas:

take that as you will.)

  • Perry/Mills spoke briefly about James Dolan. They both said that they have a commitment from him to do the process right and not to skip steps. Not skipping steps was mentioned frequently. Every step will be stepped upon. Fizdale was impressed after his meeting with ‘Mr. Dolan’ with how connected he is with Perry/Mills in his vision for the team (and not skipping steps).
  • Fan Questions! First one was “What is the first thing you want to establish?” Fizdale immediately answered “Player relationships.”
  • 2nd fan question is on style of play Fizdale wants to teach. Fizdale answers mostly about defense — “Fast, disruptive, loud defense,” that creates offense and “gets you into the open court.”
  • My notes here only say in all caps TAINT OF RILEY. I maybe raged out here, but I believe this is where they talked about Fizdale’s time in Miami and his relationship with Riley and any advice he got from him. Mills mentioned that he spoke with Riley extensively (gross!) about Fizdale and whether he was right for the job.

Again, interpret that as you will.

  • Fizdale asked why he was going to succeed here when so many others have failed (the question we all wonder). He said he didn’t really know, but that he was built by two tough women (his mother and his wife) and although he couldn’t speak for the coaches who came before, he knows himself and is confident in his work. All in all, a good answer, and it’s nice to have someone in the Knicks power structure shout out to strong women.
  • Fizdale was asked about his alleged disdain for European Basketball (and how that would mesh with a team with a large number of Europeans). He denied the premise and said he had a lot of friends who coach in Europe, which... OK. Perry popped in to say that they will continue to scout players wherever they may be.
  • More talk of defense and accountability.
  • Berman of the Post asked about Fizdale’s plans with his three young point guards. Fizdale immediately corrected him and said simply “guards.”

His plan is to “throw ‘em out there.” He’s looking for speed, versatility and defense. Perry mentioned that Fiz is not afraid to try different combinations (like positionless), and that this is the future of the NBA.

  • Fizdale was asked about off-the-court distractions, and if he was concerned about that coming to NYC. He said that you couldn’t get that much more distracting than Miami in the championship years, which is probably true. Mills went on to joke about various “brush fires” they’ve had at MSG, which is maybe not funny?
  • Fizdale mentioned that Joakim Noah had already reached out to him, and Mills noted that regarding Noah, they were “not taking any options off the table.” (Hope it’s not the tiny table.)
  • When asked about the lottery and player development, Fizdale said he is going to the draft combine with Mills/Perry. Player development (on- and off-court) is very important, with Perry saying that the Craig Robinson hired was with this in mind. I can only assume that this means that Coach Robinson is going to bring his sister and brother-in-law by to inspire the young ‘uns on the team.
  • And then it was over! Daps all around.

Takeaways:

A word cloud of this presser would basically be the word ACCOUNTABILITY with responsibility, culture, defense and positionless floating around. The buy-in from Dolan and the need to build slowly and methodically was stressed. They seem to be very intent on the idea of being open and learning from past mistakes and growing as an organization.

Every year they tell us it will be different. Who knows? This year it really might be. Welcome to New York, Coach Fizdale, and go the Knicks!