New York took Kevin Knox out of Kentucky with the No. 9 overall pick, and Western Kentucky's Mitchell Robinson in the second round. So far, Fizdale likes what he sees out of the rookies, via The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears:
"I really like them. They work really hard, they don't mess around, they come to work like grown-ups. They're competitive. You can see they like being with the Knicks and scrapping. Obviously, I keep raving about their length and athleticism. I love that. That is my kind of guys. They're just good kids. They're just good-hearted, nice kids that just want to be good basketball players. So I really like them a lot."
For a franchise that has dealt with its fair share of turmoil in recent years, bringing in players who are all business is a step in the right direction.
Need further proof that draftees are serious about their craft?
"The thing I've mainly got to focus on is getting in shape more," Robinson said, via William Guillory of The Times-Picayune. "Everything else is falling into place. That's my biggest thing now."
Meanwhile, Knox has announced his presence at the summer league:
Better yet, the two have already started working on their chemistry:
Fizdale lasted just one season and 19 games as coach of the Memphis Grizzlies before being fired amid a strained relationship with star Marc Gasol. In his lone full season as a head coach, he went 43-39 and led the Grizzlies to the postseason.
Despite not having a lengthy track record as a head coach, he has gained the respect of some of the league's biggest stars. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Damian Lillard were among those outraged when Fizdale was fired back in November.
He has, however, learned from his rocky tenure in Memphis to come to New York better prepared for the job.
"Patience. You know, don't come in so guns blazing," Fizdale said to Spears on what he learned from his time with the Grizzlies. "Really try to just evaluate things first. Really get a feel for how everything operates from top to bottom. Get to know the people that you're working with. Take the time to really foster those relationships and make people feel valued. I think in time you end up growing a real organic culture out of that."
Fizdale and Co. will have to wait to see when Kristaps Porzingis will be able to return from a torn ACL. For now, though, the team will work on getting Knox and Robinson ready for the NBA.