One of the most beloved New York Knicks of all-time, John Starks, speaks to the current squad about closing NBA games.
“Got heart like John Starks.”
It was just one of the classically accurate bars spit by the Beastie Boys, this time with Q-Tip in “Get It Together.”
Shorter than his listed 6-foot-5 with below-average handles and extremely modest skills, John Starks quickly turned into everybody’s favorite heart-and-soul of the New York Knicks during the 1990s under Pat Riley. It’s also why he remains beloved today.
Head coach David Fizdale is taking advantage of that nostalgia has he recently had Starks talk to the squad about closing out games, via Chris Iseman of North Jersey.
The way Fizdale and the players responded provided great hope moving forward. Trey Burke, especially, was wide-eyed during the visit.
“We can’t keep saying this young team thing because we’re in all of these games,” Trey Burke said. “Everyone sees that. That’s not the goal — to be in the game. The goal is to have more points than the opponent when the last buzzer sounds.”
“When that five-minute mark hits in the fourth quarter and it’s a tight game, playoff teams, teams that go deep into the playoffs, they know how to go to another level of focus,” Burke said. “Lock in on another level. Where you take the ‘me’ out of it. It’s about ‘we’ now.”
Fizdale understands exactly what he’s doing in having the overachiever speak to the current group.
“I see the other team takes it up to another level and we just right now don’t know how to answer that bell and really understand the value of possessions, how each possession matters,” coach David Fizdale said. “The value of getting rebounds. …And we’ve got to make our free throws, too. I think we went 1 for 2 like three straight times down the stretch. Those are big to stop momentum. These are all things that we have to go through and learn from.”
Losers of four straight, the 4-12 Knickerbockers will put that porous mark on the line when they take on the Magic on Orlando on Sunday night.
Time will only tell regarding the true impact John Starks had on the young bucks of the New York Knicks.