David Fizdale Says He Doesn't Want Soft Players or 'Cupcakes' with Knicks

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2018

New York Knicks NBA basketball team new head coach David Fizdale smiles during an introductory news conference, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in New York. The Knicks announced the hiring Monday after agreeing to terms with the former Memphis Grizzlies coach last week.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale said Friday he wants to build the team's roster around tough, defensive-minded players.

Ian Begley of ESPN provided comments Fizdale made on the network's Get Up! program about the style of player he wants to install in New York after being hired to replace Jeff Hornacek.

"Long and tough. But he's gotta have an edge to him. I don't want soft guys here. I don't want cupcakes," he said. "I want guys that have an edge to them, that enjoy defending. That get joy out of locking teams down."

His vision for getting the Knicks, who finished the 2017-18 season with a 29-53 record, trending back in the right direction aligns with the views of general manager Scott Perry.

Last month, the Knicks GM was asked about what the organization was seeking in a coaching candidate and told reporters the focus was defense:

"We're going to be looking for a coach who holds the players accountable and his coaching staff accountable. Not only a good basketball mind but a very skilled communicator. A guy who can connect very well with his players and is equally aligned with wanting to be a very strong defensive-minded team that won't only resonate with the candidate we want, but New Yorkers. The Knicks teams of yesteryear were tough-minded defensive teams who competed every night."

New York finished tied for 22nd in defensive efficiency this season, per ESPN.com. The Memphis Grizzlies ranked sixth in that category last year, Fizdale's only full season in charge before getting fired after a 7-12 start to the most recent campaign.

The Knicks haven't rated in the top 10 of defensive efficiency since the 2011-12 season.

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