Just 22 games into his second season as Knicks head coach, David Fizdale was let go after the team got off to a dismal 4-18 start.
In one season-plus as the team's head coach, Fizdale coached the Knicks to 21-83 record, leading to his dismissal.
On Wednesday, Fizdale was a guest on ESPN Radio, and when asked if the Knicks had a true star on the team, he pointed to rookie RJ Barrett while also saying that the Knicks need better shooters in place to help talented youngsters like Barrett and Mitchell Robinson reach their full potential.
"There's one in the organization for sure and I think that's RJ Barrett," Fizdale said. "I think RJ Barrett embodies the type of player who can play in New York City. Just straight hard worker, tough, talented, doesn't get rattled, knows how to deal with the press and all of the lights and things like that.
"He can weather the ups and downs. He doesn't get too high or too low on himself. I think the biggest thing right now. ... Do they want guys to keep growing, or do they really want to spend that money on playoff players and really try and push it?"
As for the need for shooters, Fizdale identified the point guard and power forward spots in particular, saying that while he likes the pieces the Knicks currently have at those spots, those players don't possess the type of three-point shooting needed to maximize Barrett and Robinson.
"Just looking at the roster where they're at -- I love Elfrid (Payton), Frank (Ntilikina) and Dennis Smith Jr. -- but all of them have something in common in that they're not consistent 3-point shooters coming off the pick-and-roll," Fizdale said. "And if you have a super talent like Mitchell -- and I think Mitchell can end up being one of the best centers over the next ten years -- you have to have a guy coming off that pick and if you have to fight over that pick and roll. And if you do that, all of a sudden Mitchell Robinson looks totally different. And his production goes up big time.
"And the other piece to that puzzle is a four-man who can really rope that three. ... Like I've always said, the key to player development is spacing. You want to see players look better on the court, spread the floor."
Of that trio mentioned above -- Payton, Ntilikina, and Smith Jr. -- Ntilikina has been the best three-point shooter of the bunch, but still shooting a below-average 32.1 percent from beyond the arc.
According to SNY Insider Ian Begley, others still in the Knicks organization feel that it's important to add someone in the backcourt who can shoot to best complement Barrett, per sources.
When the season was officially suspended by commissioner Adam Silver on March 11, the Knicks had an overall record of 21-45, though they had shown an improvement under interim head coach Mike Miller.
Barrett, the 19-year-old rookie the Knicks selected with the third-overall pick in last year's draft, was third on the team in scoring with 14.3 points per game, starting 55 of the 56 games he had played.
Robinson, meanwhile, had been settling in nicely to his role on the bench, averaging 9.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game.