Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
No decision on PG
David Fizdale plans to name his starting lineup on Wednesday prior to the season opener against San Antonio. He said that scrimmages during the Knicks' final practices on Monday and Tuesday will factor in to who he chooses to start at point guard.
Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton are competing for the position.
Smith Jr. missed nearly 10 days of training camp/preseason and showed some rust in the Knicks' final two preseason games. Fizdale said Smith Jr. has made shots during scrimmages, and the idea that he's a bit out of rhythm will factor in to Fizdale's decision on the starting point guard.
Fizdale also said that whoever he names as his starting point guard will have the job for the foreseeable future unless he performs poorly. In other words, Fizdale isn't planning to change his lineup based on the opponent early in the season.
RJ Barrett, Marcus Morris and Julius Randle are all expected to start against San Antonio. It would be a bit of a surprise if Mitchell Robinson wasn't starting at center. It seems like the decision at point guard is between Payton and Smith Jr.
Fizdale also said Monday that he plans to go with a rotation of at least 10 players during the season.
"I'll go more what the game calls for. For sure, a 10-(player rotation)," he said. "If I have to go to 11 or 12, I feel comfortable with the guys that we have doing that.
No More Iso-Zo
It's unclear at the moment if Allonzo Trier will be part of the Knicks' regular rotation. There's a crowded backcourt. But if Fizdale's comments on Monday were any indication, it seems like the coach will try to get Trier on the court.
"He brings an element that probably no one else brings on the team from a standpoint of, he can really break you down off the dribble and he's a good shooter from three," Fizdale said. "I've been really happy with the way he's gone about it, when he was playing and when he wasn't playing. He's been a good teammate to guys, and when he got his opportunity, he really played well."
Fizdale said that some players have been holding on to the ball for too long on offense in the preseason. But he hasn't seen that issue with Trier, whose nickname is 'Iso Zo.'
"This year he hasn't done it. I think he's two possessions where he had maybe taken multiple dribbles in a possession. He doesn't want the nickname (Iso Zo) and he wants to change that perception of him as a guy that holds," Fizdale said. "He wants to be just Allonzo Trier. He's been going about it the right way and he's been showing that in practice."
"He doesn't like that nickname anymore. He's done with it."
Of course, Trier's Twitter handle is @ISOZO, so he hasn't totally disavowed the nickname. Though it seems Fizdale is talking more about the connotation of the nickname and Trier relying less on isolation this season.
Fizdale said the tandem of Robinson at center and Randle at power forward is "pretty good." Fizdale noted that Randle and Robinson - like the rest of his players - need to improve their rebounding. "The big thing for me is the same thing I've been telling them - they've got to go get that ball for us," he said. "They've got to rebound that ball."
The Knicks ranked 21st in rebounding rate in the preseason.
Robinson uses blocks to help fight childhood cancer:
speaking of Robinson, the second-year center will donate $100 per block this season to a platform he and the Knicks have created in partnership with Hackensack University Medical Center Children's Hospital.
The partnership between Robinson, the Knicks and the hospital is called, 'Blocking Out Childhood Cancer.' It's in conjunction with the hospital's existing program, Tackle Kids Cancer. The Knicks will donate $50 to the initiative for every team blocked shot. Those interested can find info here: http://knicks.com/blockcancer.
Robinson joins New York Giants QB Eli Manning as a face of the program and will likely succeed Manning as the ambassador once Manning retires. There will be a PSA featuring Robinson and Hackensack this year and Robinson also plans to host a benefit gala next spring as part of the partnership.
Robinson also recently partnered with Fender to hand out harmonicas to those involved with Robinson's rookie season (family, friends, front office people, media). He plans to release a harmonica, dubbed the DeFender, to the public. The proceeds for the instrument will benefit the Mitchell Robinson III Youth Foundation.