Tag: David Fizdale

Enes Kanter Ejected After Scuffle With Giannis Antetokounmpo

After suffering a fourteen point loss to the Bucks on Christmas Day, the New York Knicks couldn’t bounce back in their rematch with the Greek Freak, losing in Milwaukee by a score of 112-96.

However, the real story was the altercation between Knicks center Enes Kanter and MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. Following a collision between the two players where no foul was called, Giannis appears to pump Kanter before they went head-to-head in a very heated moment. Kanter was issued two technicals and ejected from the game as a result.

Enes took an elbow on the previous play from Thon Maker that would require three stitches, which was why he thought he had to leave the floor. He thought he was just receiving medical attention for the gash to his eye, not knowing that he had been ejected and unable to return.

Referee Brian Forte explained why he gave the two technicals to Enes by saying that “during instant replay review for the altercation, we observed an unsportsmanlike act by Kanter, and that is what led to his first technical foul. After the out-of-bounds foul, Giannis and Kanter came face-to-face, and so they were both assessed dead-ball technical fouls.”

After the game ended, fellow teammate Kristaps Porzingis posted on his Instagram story to express his frustrations with the way the whole situation was handled.

“That was some bs tonight!!!” Porzingis said. “And that bucks assistant coach needs to sit his ass down before grabbing Enes like that. Grab your own players not the opp. team.”

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Kanter. He had lost his starting job to Mitchell Robinson earlier in the year, but Robinson was sidelined due to an ankle injury that allowed Kanter to re-enter the starting lineup for a short time. However, in last night’s game against the Bucks, Fizdale decided to give the starting nod to Luke Kornet instead. Kornet had a career night, scoring 23 points while logging 5 assists and 3 rebounds. This was much to the dismay of Kanter, who conveyed his frustration on Twitter after being benched yet again.

His effectiveness on the floor has also taken a hit as of late. Despite averaging 14.7 points and 10.8 rebounds this season, his numbers have dipped to 10 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in the last seven days.

Hopefully, this altercation will motivate the Knicks big man to continue improving his game and return to being the scoring and rebounding machine from earlier in the year.

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

David Fizdale: The Player’s Coach

Learning the ropes as an Assistant Head Coach in the NBA isn’t always easy, but being able to do so under Erik Spoelstra and a Miami Heat team that won two championships in four years from 2010 to 2014  made it that much easier for David Fizdale. Among players in the league, Fizdale is known as a humble, personable coach who actually cares about his players’ best interest both on and off the court. Chris Bosh, one of Fizdale’s former players and a member of the “Big 3” with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, is extremely appreciative of Fizdale’s style and coaching abilities.

Fizdale received such high praise and recognition from around the league that he began to make a name for himself and was hired by the Memphis Grizzlies as their head coach for the 2016-17 season. Leading the team to a 43-39 record and a playoff berth, players like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley loved the culture and attitude that he brought and ultimately embedded into the organization. In Conley’s case, he signed the NBA’s biggest contract (five-year / $153 million) to date during the summer in the free agency before Fizdale was hired.

Conley articulated how grateful he is for Fizdale’s impact on his playing career. After signing such a huge contract, Fizdale was able to unlock parts of his game that allowed him to be worth the over $30 million per year that the Grizzlies were giving him. Unfortunately, the start to the 2017-18 season was not one that the Grizzlies had expected, starting the year with a 7-14 record which led the Grizzlies to cut the cord quickly on Fizdale. On the other hand, this opened the door for his opportunity with the New York Knicks where he resides today. Having the 3rd youngest team in the league with an average age of 24.6 and their franchise player still sidelined with an ACL injury, Fizdale’s task as the Knicks’ leader would definitely not be an easy one, and his main objective would be to develop the young players rather than attempting to make a playoff push. As Fizdale put it a few days ago:

“It’s about, are these guys staying in the trench to get better every single day? That’s our focus. We know the win-loss category is going to change when we become a better basketball team. So we’re not putting all our stock in wins and losses right now and our group understands that.”

Developing over winning is a tough motto to resonate with, but Fizdale’s track record has proven that he is up for the task and is in it for the players and their development as young men and NBA players. Although he has yet to subtweet Joel Embiid’s infamous “Trust the Process” quote, Fizdale is definitely embracing the process and understands that the Knicks are a project, one that may take years to come to fruition.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/ Michael Tipton

Knicks Fans Can Cross Kyrie Irving Off Their Wish List

The Knicks have made it known that they want to make a big splash in 2019 free agency as the team is expected to have plenty of cap room. There are several high profile stars who they planned on pursuing, a list that had Kyrie Irving at the top.

This dream appears to be dead as Irving has announced his intention to re-sign with the Boston Celtics this offseason.

Irving is a member of one of the most storied franchises in NBA history, and bringing a championship to Boston would solidify his elite status. Former Celtics standout Paul Pierce agrees with this assertion, saying, “I think that’s a legacy decision and for him to see the potential of that team moving forward in Boston,” Pierce said. “Winning a championship in Boston is different than winning one in Cleveland. He will be immortalized if he wins in Boston.”

Kyrie is a 5-time All-Star and a former All-NBA selection and would have undoubtedly helped the Knicks make another trip to the playoffs. However, this clearly is out of the question after declaring his allegiance to the C’s.

So what’s next for the Knicks?

With Kyrie out of the picture, the Knicks will have all hands on deck to go after Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler. Although several skeptics around the NBA believe this is only a pipedream, the fact of the matter is that New York has a legitimate shot at both of these premier players.

Durant has already won two championships with Golden State and may decide to leave the team to improve his image. The Knicks are a possible destination simply because of the allure the franchise offers. Madison Square Garden is one of the most electrifying arenas in the league and is in the center of the greatest city in the world. This is the same reason that LeBron went to the Lakers. Playing in a big-time city where basketball is at the heart of the city’s culture is a great experience, to say the least. Also, KD’s longtime business partner/agent Rich Kleiman is based on New York and is big Knicks fan, along with Durant’s father.

As for Jimmy Butler, he has expressed a degree of interest in coming to New York. A few weeks ago, Butler formally requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves and gave the organization a list of his three preferred destinations, one being the Knicks. He would add the defensive pedigree that the team has been lacking for several years and would fit in nicely with Fizdale’s offensive system.

Although losing out on Kyrie is a big blow, there are plenty of other viable options to revitalize the Mecca of basketball.