Is Knicks Losing Season Hindering Development of Young Players or Future?

The Knicks' head coach chalks up their winning mentality in the face of a losing record to "truth."

Knicks tanking
Knicks head coach David Fizdale is optimistic for the future of his team. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The New York Knicks will likely end up losing more games than they win by the end of this season — a lot more.

But the team’s record is just another “truth” that keeps them honest with each other and motivated to be better, according to their head coach.

David Fizdale told The Ringer that “truth” is how he, his staff and his team of young players manage to stay positive and hungry in the face of tough times.

“(Truth about) everything,” Fizdale continued. “Honest about where they are with their game. Honest about where we are with our team. Rotations. Effort. What’s on the film. We try to shoot straight with each other and respect each other that way. We got a whole group of those guys who say that to each other, and they know it’s coming from a good place. The coaches can say things to them, and they know it’s coming from a good place.”

As of Monday, the Knicks were 23rd in offensive rating and 29th in defensive rating, and carried a minus-7.9 point differential. They haven’t had a winning record in six years; but “when you squint at it with the right perspective,” the Knicks’ new tradition of losing isn’t so terrible.

There’s obvious appeal, according to The Ringer, to tanking this season and putting the team in a better lottery position to draft Zion Williamson, or another talented young player. Last year’s draft pick, Kevin Knox, was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for December, a reflection of the new and very un-Knicks way of cultivating talent — from the draft pool, up — instead of teasing fans with big, splashy names, large contracts and ultimate disappointment.

Fizdale said the award was “such a bright spot for us” and told about how the other players “pounced on” Knox when they heard the news. In the face of extreme losing, the Knicks seemed happy that one of their own was recognized for something positive.

“For us right now,” Fizdale said, “that’s a team award.”

The best award for which the team can hope … for now.

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