David Fizdale on what he saw when Kevin Knox suffered his ankle injury.
Chris Iseman, Staff Writer, @chrisiseman
MILWAUKEE —After playing the Boston Celtics on Saturday, the Knicks will go up against another one of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams on Monday night.
The Milwaukee Bucks (2-0) are a deep and talented team and feature one of the NBA’s top players in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Here are five things to know:
1. The head coach
After parting ways with the Atlanta Hawks after last season, Mike Budenholzer was considered an prime option to become head coach of the Knicks.
Budenholzer, the 2015 Coach of the Year, interviewed with New York but ultimately preferred the Bucks job.
Instead of taking over another team that’s in a rebuild, Budenholzer took the reins of a team that’s ready to contend now.
The Bucks last season lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Celtics. They’re almost certainly headed back to the playoffs this season under Budenholzer, who’s known as a defensive coach.
2. The Greek Freak
Antetokounmpo is a 6-foot-11 athletic marvel.
With LeBron James now with the Lakers, the Greek Freak could be considered the best player in the Eastern Conference.
He’s a force on both ends of the floor.
Through two games, he’s averaged 25.5 points, 16.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks.
Antetokounmpo is shooting 47.7 percent from the field. He’s not much of an outside shooter but that’s a part of his game Budenholzer is now trying to develop.
Just ridiculous numbers.
“I don’t know what position you call Giannis to be honest with you,” Fizdale said after the Knicks’ shoot around Monday morning at Fiserv Forum. “He can guard everybody. He can play position every single position – post, wing, point guard. He can definitely be a generational player when this is all said and done.”
The Bucks take a lot of three-pointers in Budenholzer’s offensive system.
The Bucks are third in the NBA so far in three-point attempts per game 40.0. They set a franchise record for attempted threes with 47 in an opening night win over the Pacers.
As a team, the Bucks are shooting 38.8 percent from the perimeter in two games (albeit a small sample size).
Small forward Khris Middleton is 8-of-15 from long distance so far, while point guard Erik Bledsoe is 5-of-10.
Budenholzer has even gotten Antetokounmpo shooting threes.
He’s attempted 10 but hasn’t made any of them yet. Last season, the Greek Freak attempted just 1.9 threes per game.
4. Without Kevin Knox
The Knicks are going to be without their lottery pick for the foreseeable future.
An MRI Sunday confirmed that Knox had a sprained left ankle. The Knicks said he will be re-evaluated in a week.
With Knox sidelined, it’s possible Damyean Dotson could get some more playing time since the Knicks will need some depth at the wing.
Dotson’s a good shooter and he plays hard defensively. He could give the Knicks some depth at the wing.
5. Stopping the (mini) skid
The Knicks are trying to end their two-game losing streak after falling to the Nets and Pacers.
They’re in a tough stretch of games.
After playing the Bucks on Monday night, they’ll go on to the play the Heat, Warriors and Pacers in the next week.