Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
How does Dennis Smith Jr.'s new shot look in five-on-five scrimmages?
"It's a lot better," David Fizdale said on Tuesday. "It's a lot less movement, it's more efficient. He put in a lot of time on the fundamentals this summer. But it's a process. He'll have days where it's not as great. But I think consistently now he's got a shot that has a better chance of going in."
Smith Jr. has worked extensively on his shot this summer with Knicks assistant coach Keith Smart. He shot 42 percent overall and 32 percent from beyond the arc this season. The Knicks, obviously, would like to see those percentages increase in Smith Jr.'s third NBA season.
Acquired by New York in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, Smith Jr. will be competing with Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina for minutes at point guard this season.
Barrett focused on defense on Day 1
RJ Barrett said his first official NBA practice went well. In general, his focus early on has been on defense.
"I'm working my tail off on the defensive end. I'm just trying to get better there. Coach always wants a defensive guy on the court, you know?"
Barrett has said previously that he hopes to impact the game on both ends of the floor in the NBA. His progression and development will be a key part of this Knicks season, for obvious reasons, and is crucial for management and the coaching staff.
The No. 3 overall pick was asked on Tuesday about his comment in a Bleacher Report AMA about Porzingis last month. He downplayed the idea that he's hunting for Porzingis.
"To be honest, I think it's about anybody. Anytime I get the opportunity -- who wouldn't," he said. "Everyone wants to dunk on everybody. Anytime I get the opportunity I'm going to try."
Barrett was also asked who he'd like to dunk on.
"I know who I really wanna say but I'm not gonna. Let's go with Porzingis," he said.
One last note on Barrett: The shooting guard was seen in a recent video working on a step-back three. Is that a shot he's eventually looking to attempt in games?
"If that shot is there, I'm going to take it," Barrett said Tuesday.
Fiz on Frank
It seems like the Knicks are using this training camp as a tryout of sorts for Frank Ntilikina. GM Scott Perry intimated that the club would take more time before deciding whether to pick up Ntilikina's contract option for 2020-21. If the Knicks declined the option, Ntilikina will be a free agent this summer. They have until Oct. 31 to make a decision.
Fizdale was asked how he assessed Ntikilina's season last year.
"The only frustrating part of last year was the injuries, roughly missed almost 40 games last year because of injury," the coach said. "That was always tough to juggle and working him back in, getting his confidence back and stuff like that. I'm really happy with the way he came in. He had a great summer and today he had a real competitive practice."
Ntilikina performed well for the French National Team in the World Cup last month. It will be interesting to see if that success translates in the preseason.
Fiz may go with big lineups
Fizdale was asked on Tuesday if he'd play some bigger lineups this season. He sounds open to it.
"When you start talking about Kevin Knox and Marcus Morris at the small forward, right there that makes you pretty big. You can see the pecking order down the line," he said. "I can put a lot of different guys on the floor. I can play Bobby (Portis) and Mitchell (Robinson) together with Marcus Morris, that's a really big lineup. And RJ Barrett is no small guy at the two or three either. Frank and Elfrid are big guards. Dennis may not be as big as them, but he can touch higher on the backboard than the rest of them. I really like the fact we have that size and length and now it's just making sure that we use it appropriately."
Fizdale said he'd also be open to using Julius Randle at center.
"Absolutely …. You guys like to put (positional) numbers on these guys. I just like to put them out there. Now this year I feel like we've got so much versatility I can mix in different lineups," he said. "But if you want to say position-wise he's a five, I can put him out there with Marcus Morris at the four and put a lot of pressure on a defense that way."… Fizdale said that Iggy Brazdeikis had a 'welcome to the NBA" moment in Tuesday's practice. Barrett said Brazdeikis was in the wrong spot on the floor when Smith Jr. threw an alley-oop to Kenny Wooten. Apparently, Wooten finished over Brazdeikis.