Knicks News: David Fizdale Not Thinking About NBA Draft Lottery Odds, Tanking

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2019

New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale gives instructions to players in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 107-104. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

While the outside world is focused on the possibility of the New York Knicks winning the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft lottery, head coach David Fizdale isn't thinking that far ahead. 

Per ESPN.com's Ian Begley, Fizdale said his job is to worry about developing players currently on the roster after the Knicks have won three of their past four games:

"I don't (think about lottery odds). And (Knicks management and ownership) haven't made me do that. They told me, 'Develop these guys, play to win every single night' and that's what I preach to them and that's what they expect out of me. We went on a losing streak and couldn't win a game. And now the fruits of our labor are starting to show a little bit and we've had a little bit of success, but it doesn't change our approach to anything when it comes to lottery and things like that. We're just trying to win every game."

"To me my focus is always culture. I can't - I'm not wired to lose on purpose. That just is not, I can't even get my body to function that way or my mind to function that way. I'm lucky because (NYK president) Steve (Mills) and (GM) Scott (Perry) and (Knicks owner) Mr. (James) Dolan have all said to me, you play every game to win and you don't worry about where we land in the draft and all of that stuff."

New York's recent hot streak has improved the club's record to 13-48, 1.5 games ahead of the Phoenix Suns (12-50) in the race to be the NBA's worst team. 

The NBA has changed the lottery format for this season so teams with the three worst records all have a 14 percent chance to win the No. 1 overall pick. The team with the worst record is also guaranteed to select no lower than fifth in the draft.

Teams at the bottom of the standings are presumably hoping to secure the right to draft Duke star Zion Williamson if he leaves college after this season. 

The Knicks will have an opportunity to help their odds on Thursday when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers, who own the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference (14-47).