David Fizdale believes his system — while unrecognizable with this roster — will work with better players.
Navigating the third-worst defensive-rated team in the NBA, the Knicks coach acknowledged his scheme is designed with the summer additions in mind.
“Our defense won’t really, really get to where it’s at until we start to really fill in the gaps with the type of guys we think can take our defense to the next level,” Fizdale said. “Add maybe another forward defender or another perimeter defender that has a reputation for that. Those kind of guys are the ones that elevate your system to the next level.”
When asked whether it’s possible to shape a defense around hypotheticals, Fizdale said, “We’ve already kind of started that – the idea of the type of players we want and the type of defense we want to play.”
Fizdale can’t name names but Kevin Durant — a two-way monster and arguably the best player in the NBA — is at the top of the list. Neither Kemba Walker nor Kyrie Irving are great individual defenders, but other top free agents can make that claim — Kawhi Leonard, certainly, as well as Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson. Anthony Davis, who has requested a trade with the Knicks among his preferred destinations, has enough wingspan to protect a small country. Beyond the max-contract options, the defensive-minded free agents include Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza, Darren Collison, Danny Green and Thaddeus Young, among others.