New York Knicks: Kevin Knox developing appreciation for David Fizdale

New York Knicks (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Kevin Knox has developed a liking for New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale, speaking on him in MSG Networks’ Unfiltered.

The start of Kevin Knox’s career with the New York Knicks started rocky. He was removed from the starting lineup, despite sticking in it throughout the preseason, suffered a sprained ankle days into the regular season and was at the forefront of public criticism.

After a fiery defense from head coach David Fizdale, Knox began to settle in and become comfortable on the basketball court.

In general, the Kentucky product’s relationship with his coach has developed on and off the hardwood, which includes setting up Knox with Knicks legend, Bernard King, to learn about the game.

On Friday’s airing of MSG Networks’ Unfiltered Knicks: Rookie Journal, Knox will discuss how Fizdale operates and the way it garners respect, showing an appreciation for his first NBA head coach along the way:

"“Fiz is a player’s coach. He has a great relationship with all his players. You can go to Fiz, you don’t even have to talk about basketball. You can talk about anything in life. He’s always going to joke around, he’s going to have fun. With coaches like that, you just have to give your respect to on the court. They expect you to play hard. Because they are going to treat you like their family off the court. So I’m always talking to Fiz about anything. He’s always laughing, always smiling. That’s kind of the coach you want to have.”"

Knox also relayed Fizdale’s biggest message for the team, which was simple: compete:

"“He just really wants you to play hard. Every single day. I think the biggest word is probably compete. Every single day in practice we always compete. We go after each other in the game. He’s always saying compete. Because once you compete, you’re going to play hard, you’re going to have the energy on the court. So I just feel that’s the biggest message to make sure you’re competing at all times.”"

The 19-year-old not only has followed through on competitiveness, but respect for his coach, something he earned in return, with a spot to the starting lineup on Dec. 12. It was prefaced with a 26-point, 15-rebound night off the bench against the Charlotte Hornets.

Knox followed through on this promotion, with 18.4 points on 43.6 percent shooting in five games since. As long as this production remains, it should be his job to lose indefinitely. He took it from Mario Hezonja, who struggled in a lengthy starting stint.

Adjustments had to happen along the way, which Knox realized, especially defensively.

"“The pace of the game is one of the biggest surprises. In college, it was a little bit slowed down. But here in the NBA, everyone is going so fast. Scoring in the 100’s almost every night. Guys are way more physical than they were in college or high school, so just getting adjusted to that. And you’re playing against the best players in the world, so I have to adjust to the defense I play. Defense is one of the biggest things I had to get adjusted to as far as coming to the NBA.”"

It’s different from facing players who may have been smaller than him, to grown men that are within his size or taller and more physical.

That’s an adjustment for all players to make from the collegiate to NBA level. Given Knox’s age, this may take years to fully adapt to, as he increases strength and builds confidence to battle these veterans.

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Aside from this, Knox will discuss support from his father, and more, on this episode of Unfilitered. It airs on MSG Networks, after Friday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, at 10:30 p.m. ET.