Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
In response to Kevin Durant, Marcus Morris tweeted on Thursday that he was never a fan of doing what was cool.
He expanded on that idea when asked about it on Friday.
"That's just me personally. Me reading what KD said, or listening to what he said about the cool thing," Morris said on Friday before the Knicks-Wizards game at MSG. "I just never was a real fan of that. Being cool and being in the NBA. Me personally, I get what he was saying. I actually have a good relationship with KD. But the cool part about playing somewhere. Playing in all cities - playing in Utah. Is it cool to play in Utah? It's cool to play in other places. It's cool. I just never was a fan of the cool thing. Making a decision off of what's cool."
Durant earlier this week was on radio station Hot 97 when the host, Ebro, lamented the state of the Knicks.
Durant responded, "They're trying. They're trying. It's hard to get the best players to play here. It's hard."
Durant was asked to expand on why it's difficult for the Knicks to attract stars.
"I think a lot of fans look at the Knicks as a brand and expect these younger players who, in their lifetime, don't remember the Knicks being good. I didn't grow up with the Knicks," he said. "I've seen the Knicks in the Finals, but kids coming up after me didn't see that. So that whole brand of the Knicks to them is not as cool as, let's say, the Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now.
"It's like the cool thing right now is not the Knicks," he added.
New York has won just one playoff series since 2001 and has missed the playoffs for six straight seasons. Durant said he didn't strongly consider signed with the Knicks before agreeing to terms with the Nets in July.
Regarding the Nets, since the failed Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade, Brooklyn went through a period of losing that was comparable to the Knicks. But the Nets have been on a clear upward trajectory (a 22-win increase over the past three seasons and a playoff berth last year). Durant and Kyrie Irving signed with the club this summer.
After missing on their top free agent targets, including Durant, New York signed several players on short term deals and hopes to take a step forward with this group after a 17-65 2018-19 campaign.
Smith Jr. expected to play final two preseason games
Dennis Smith Jr. has missed two preseason games due to a back strain but David Fizdale expects him to play in the Knicks' final two preseason games. Fizdale said that Smith Jr.'s play in those two games will certainly factor in to whether he earns the starting job. Smith Jr. is competing with Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina for minutes in the backcourt.
Fizdale said he'd like to see Smith Jr.'s re-worked shot in a live setting rather than evaluating him based on what he did last year with the Knicks.
"He put in so much work this summer and I don't think it's fair for him to keep the same eyes from last year on him. We want to get a fresh set of eyes," Fizdale said. "He had a heck of a camp up to the point where he got sprained."
Kevin Knox missed Friday's game with a calf strain but it doesn't appear to be serious.
"I don't think it's going to be something that keeps him out for a long time. From everything I'm hearing from our trainers, it's just more being cautious right now than it is severe," Fizdale said.
The coach reiterated that he hasn't decided on any starting spots yet.
"These games are important to help me figure that out," Fizdale said. "Who's playing well together, what groups are working well. At the end of the day, I'm just a deep believer that the starting five, that's fine to be a starter, but it's more about who's finishing games. I think if you look at last year's Clippers team, their second unit was the killer group. It wasn't the starting lineup. The starting lineup was solid but the second unit, they were murderers. I think as long as guys can embrace the role they end up in, that's the most important thing."
No selfish players from last year's team
Fizdale said last season that, at times, the ball didn't move as much as he'd liked. He attributed some of that to having a roster with players who were entering free agency. But he clarified on Friday to say that in no way did he view last season's team as selfish.
Here's Fizdale: "I want to clear something up for context…. Last year's teams had moments of selfishness. That team was bought in, that team was committed, they played hard, they played together. And they tried to help each other. So I just want to make sure, for the record, we understand that. Because I really enjoyed that group of men. They worked hard for me, and I don't want no narrative out there that those kids were selfish. They all went through moments of selfishness, every team does."