The New York Knicks are going to play in more close games this season and that means David Fizdale will be on the spot.
Drawing up winning plays in clutch situations is a hallmark of almost every head coach. Unfortunately for David Fizdale and the New York Knicks, they didn’t have too many chances to hit clutch shots late in games.
Knicks fans had an opportunity to see Fizdale draw up a winner in just his third game as head coach, but Trey Burke botched the inbounds pass. It resulted in a broken play and three free throws for Burke, but Fizdale refused to let his point guard take the blame for the play.
“Oh, I stunk that play up,” Fizdale said after Burke missed two of the three free throws en route to a loss. “I drew up a crap play for him, but somehow we got three free throws out of it. So, that’s just what I was expecting.
“Yeah, I drew a crap play. Terrible, I told them. That was the first thing I said to the team. I owned that. That was a bad play and I had two really nice plays I wanted to look at.”
Despite the botched play call against the Celtics, there were examples that should give fans hope that the Knicks are in good hands with Fizdale. One such play came in a March game against the Indiana Pacers.
Clearly, the Knicks needed a three in this situation (down six with 24 seconds left) and the Pacers know it. Wesley Matthews hugs Damyean Dotson after the inbounds, forcing Noah Vonleh to look to the next option.
Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic switch the Emmanuel Mudiay dribble handoff and the point guard usees the small sliver of space to knock down the crucial three.
With new personnel, this play could be dangerous. Nothing against Vonleh, but Julius Randle is an upgrade as a facilitator. Fans should expect to see a steady diet of dribble handoffs from Randle next season whether it’s in the final seconds of games or otherwise.
This was a winning play call from Fizdale even if the Knicks eventually lost this game by a score of 103-98. How the head coach handles these types of situations is going to be an interesting subplot of next season.