New York Knicks: David Fizdale already sees a more confident Kevin Knox

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

On MSG 150, New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale discussed Kevin Knox already returning to the gym to work for next season.

Kevin Knox had high expectations entering his rookie season with the New York Knicks. Picked ninth overall, he was thrown into the fire early and often, starting 57 of the 75 games he appeared in for 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest.

It all happened as the youngest player — 19 years old — on the roster. The 37 percent shooting mark and defensive efforts left something to be desired, but the Knicks were 17-65, so opportunities to flourish were limited.

However, with New York’s season end only three weeks passed, Knox is already back in the gym, working out for his sophomore campaign. The Knicks Twitter account posted a clip of him working in the gym with head coach David Fizdale earlier Monday, and that played perfectly into the first episode of MSG Networks’ MSG 150.

Fizdale, a guest on the interview-based show with Bill Pidto and Alan Hahn, spoke about Knox’s quick return to training, despite preaching the players needed a break in exit interviews:

"“We just started texting after one of the playoff games because we were planning on the week after, to start getting after it. I told him in the exit meetings, ‘Listen, I’m gonna grab you most of the summer for one-on-ones, just you and I.’ So he was obviously up for that.”"

Fizdale added, their workouts started while watching a playoff game.

Even after one month off, Fizdale praised Knox’s conditioning and willingness to work, as well as understanding the game.

Most notably, Knox connected with a visit earlier in the season from Knicks legend Bernard King, when Fizdale routinely brought franchise greats to visit this young team. Patrick Ewing and Willis Reed were among the others to appear.

"“To [Knox’s] credit, he’s still in solid shape. Even in this week’s workouts, his walk was different. I think he’s got a little more confidence knowing what’s coming now, instead of it being such a surprise to him. And we really just talked about building out his game, knowing his game and knowing ‘How do I get to that place and what am I doing when I get there?’ A lot of those are things we spoke to Bernard King about. He’s real systematic with how he scores, and I think that connected with Kevin and we build off of that.”"

Knox soaking up what he learned in his rookie year and continuing this long before 2019-20 starts is eye-opening. That willingness to work is a positive. Who knows, maybe he appears in the Summer League to add in-game reps, even if the competition is not the same.

That confidence also comes with the game slowing down for Knox, who won the December Rookie of the Month award. It should continue with experience, and that may happen with a redesigned roster via the draft and free agency, bringing more talented players aboard.

Fizdale bonding with a player can’t hurt, either. It enhances his “player’s coach” identity and can even inspire others to call the coach and head to the practice facility for offseason training.

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Knox has set a promising precedent for other young players on the roster, the incoming ones via the draft and whoever signs in free agency. With working as early as May, maybe it produces numbers that far exceed his rookie stats in a playoff year for the New York Knicks.