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Like most coaches hired to try to rescue the franchise in the NBA’s largest media market, David Fizdale comes to the New York Knicks with an inordinate amount of hyperbole.
But Knicks sharpshooting wing Tim Hardaway Jr. says it may be time to believe the hype.
“(Fizdale is) respected around the league,’’ Hardaway told the New York Post. “He does bring that type of vibe and character around the team that makes you want to go out there and compete each and every day for him. That’s what we love about him.”
Fizdale spent one full season season and 19 games of another as coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, finishing with a 50-51 overall record. The Grizzlies were 7-12 when he was fired last year.
After that, Fizdale seemed to become all the rage, with players and national media members offering strong support of him finding another job.
Before coaching the Grizzlies, Fizdale spent a long time as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, and Miami Heat during the Big Three era of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
He interviewed before multiple openings before landing with the Knicks. Hardaway is glad he did.
“I’ve known him since I was a kid,’’ Hardaway told the Post. “When he was with the Miami Heat, my dad played there. Just the culture he’s going to bring to the team and his charisma and passion for the game, it’s going to rub off on us very well. We’re excited.’’
The Knicks finished 29-53 under Jeff Hornacek last season , missing the playoffs. Hornacek was fired immediately after the final regular-season game, a win at Cleveland.
Hardaway, 26, is entering his sixth NBA season. He averaged a career-high 17.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 57 games last year.
The Knicks will be awaiting on the return of star forward Kristaps Porzingis from knee surgery. They are also excited about the addition of forward Kevin Knox, the team’s first-round pick from Kentucky.
“All I know is we’re going to play team ball and get as many wins as possible so we can reach out goal and make the playoffs,” Hardaway told the Post. “We have a lot of talent.”