New York Knicks point guard Trey Burke recently opened up about the impact of head coach David Fizdale and the road ahead of him.
The New York Knicks are mere days away from entering the 2018 period of free agency, but the attention has already turned to the future. Despite being hired in May, head coach David Fizdale is already earning praise for his leadership.
While many have offered high praise for Fizdale, it’s point guard Trey Burke who may have offered the most telling review of the 44-year-old’s early tenure.
The likes of Enes Kanter, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Kristaps Porzingis have taken a public stance in favor of the Fizdale hire. Most have focused on his ability to relate to his players, but Burke has taken a stance that may prove he’s ready for the job.
According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Burke believes that one of the traits that will help Fizdale succeed with the Knicks his ability to be hard on his players when he needs to be.
"“I didn’t know Fizdale at the time but when I met him at the press conference all the way up until now, he’s been nothing but honest. He’s been on us hard. And those are things you need from a guy that’s going to lead an organization like the New York Knicks. It’s a heavy task and I know he wants to do well.”"
Many coaches have proven capable of building healthy relationships with their players, but those who refuse to call them out on their issues tend to fail over time.
Fizdale, 44, has vast NBA experience as both a head coach and a high-ranking assistant. He won two championships with the Miami Heat as a lead assistant to Erik Spoelstra, and led the Memphis Grizzlies to the playoffs in 2016-17.
During that time, Fizdale overcame a public spat with Marc Gasol to develop the reputation of coach who knows how to connect with the modern athlete.
Thankfully, Burke is of the belief that Fizdale will both enable the Knicks to succeed and hold them accountable when need be.
Burke is one of the players whom Fizdale will be tasked with helping reach the next level in 2018-19. He’s coming off of a resurgent season, during which he averaged 21.1 points, 7.8 assists, and 1.7 three-point field goals made per 36 minutes.
Burke did so in just 36 games, but there’s a realistic possibility that Fizdale will help him sustain that success and secure a long-term role.
The New York Knicks have struggled to build relationships between players and leadership, but David Fizdale appears to be bucking the trend.