Knicks coach David Fizdale isn't interested in talking about the playoffs this year. In fact, he has removed the word from his vocabulary.
When asked before Tuesday's loss to the Pistons why he won't mention the postseason, Fizdale told the New York Post: "My focus is on the day-to-day growth of the team. Whatever comes out at the end, that's going to happen based on what we did from the work standpoint. I'm trying to keep two eyes down on the pathway to get there and not trying to split my time worrying about the destination and looking at something that may or may not happen. I don't even mention that [the playoffs]."
With the Knicks at 7-15 and Kristaps Porzingis not returning from his ACL rehab anytime soon, Fizdale's aversion to playoff talk makes sense. Instead, Fizdale has introduced a new motivational tool into the locker room: a literal ax, which to his own admission serves as a clichéd symbol of what he's trying to accomplish in developing his younger players. He even had all the Knicks sign it.
"You just try not to get seduced by our success," he said, per the Post. "I don't want our team to focus as much on the end result as much as what we did to get it. I know it's corny but my cliché is chop the tree. We're not paying attention to when the tree falls.''
Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, and Enes Kanter have stated their goal is to make the playoffs, even while their coach hasn't mentioned it since the summer.
Still, Kanter said he's down with the ax.
"Every day we see the ax. That shows commitment," he said. "From Day 1 we signed it, coach said if you don't want to be committed don't sign it and everyone signed it. It shows we're committed." (NY Post)