New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale is tinkering with his starting lineups. On Wednesday, Kevin Knox will make his first career start.
On Wednesday night, New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale will insert Kevin Knox and Emmanuel Mudiay into the starting lineup in place of Frank Ntilikina and Damyean Dotson per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.
If you are surprised and/or incensed by this move, R-E-L-A-X. Fizdale is going to tinker with his starting lineup and his rotations all season long. He is probing and prodding to find the right combinations and see what players fit in what roles. Most Knicks fans will cringe at seeing Mudiay in the starting lineup, but Knox’s first career start should mitigate some of their frustration.
Knox’s chance at starting was an inevitability. Despite the standout play from second-round pick Mitchell Robinson and undrafted free agent Allonzo Trier, Knox is New York’s blue-chip prospect of the 2018 draft. Many expected Knox to put a starter from opening night, but an inconsistent preseason and an ankle injury set him back early in the season.
Dotson wasn’t even in the rotation to start the year, but when Knox went down with injury, Dotson took advantage of the opportunity. Even if he isn’t a mainstay in the starting lineup, he solidified a role in the rotation.
But if you’re blood is boiling at the prospect of watching Mudiay lead the starting unit, just relax. This isn’t surprising. Fizdale has made it clear that he wants to give all the point guards on the roster a chance at starting. Don’t be surprised if Allonzo Trier gets a chance at playing the lead guard on the starting unit.
This isn’t the end for Frank Ntilikina. His growth and progression won’t come all at once. Like anybody, there’s going to be peaks and valleys in his development. For now, he’s in a valley and maybe a change could help end the funk he’s been in for the last two games. Ntilikina is a team player and he’s going to use this opportunity to improve.
“No, I mean I just want what’s best for the team,” Ntilikina said when asked if he would be disappointed about potential lineup changes. “I have confidence in coach in doing what’s the best for the team. We all want success here in New York and wherever he wants me to play I’ll be ready to go on the court and give all I can give to the team.”
That sounds like someone who is fully buying into the culture. Ntilikina’s days in the starting lineup are far from over. Expect more changes to the starting lineup as the season progresses.