Knicks Brass Sends Message To Fizdale: Start Winning

The Knicks may lack true star power, but team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry believe they have enough talent to be a bit better than 2-8.


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Stop us if you’ve heard this before: the Knicks have the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

Yet, despite the overhauled team’s lack of superstar skill, president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry believe there’s enough talent there to be better than 2-8.

On Sunday night, following the Knicks’ bad 108-87 home loss to Cleveland, the club’s front office leaders let coach David Fizdale know it during a rare in-season public appearance in front of reporters.

“Obviously, Scott and I are not happy with where we are right now,” Mills said. “We think the team is not performing to the level that we anticipated or we expected to perform, and it’s something that we collectively have to do a better job of delivering the product on the floor that we said we would do at the start of this season.

“We still believe in our coaching staff. We believe in the plan Scott and I put together and the players that we’ve assembled, but we also have to acknowledge that we haven’t played at the level we expected to play at.”

During and after a dreadful 17-65 season in 2018-19, the Knicks cut ties with several veterans and then went on to sign a bunch of players in free agency, including Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton and Marcus Morris. They also used the No. 3 pick in the draft on Duke star RJ Barrett.

Yet not much has changed. The Knicks are 29th in the league in offense per game, averaging 99.2 points, and 15th in team defense, allowing 109.3 points.

According to Mills, he and Perry spoke with owner James Dolan during Sunday’s game, which included several rounds of boos from fans in attendance.

“I mean Jim still believes in the plan that we put together, but he’s passionate as we are about this,” Mills said. “He would want us to have better results on the floor. But I think Jim is a fan and believes in what we are doing, but he has the same kind of expectations that we have. And this is really about how we feel about what we should be doing, what we should be delivering as a group and we all take responsibility.”

Following Mills and Perry at the podium, Fizdale was asked if he feels a sense of urgency to get the Knicks turned around quickly.

“I live in that sense of urgency,” said Fizdale, who has just 19 wins in 92 games since taking over the club prior to last season. “I don’t need anyone to speak to give me a sense of urgency. I’m not cruising through this thing acting like I’ve got a bunch of time to get a team together. Every day I have urgency about this team about how I coach them, about getting them better, about building consistent habits.”

The Knicks travel to Chicago on Tuesday before returning for a three-game homestand, which will start with a tilt against Dallas on Thursday.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

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