Second-year Knicks shooting guard Damyean Dotson already sees a changing culture under new head coach David Fizdale after less than two months.
Exactly a year ago, Dotson staged his pre-draft workout for the Knicks in Tarrytown before president Phil Jackson, coach Jeff Hornacek and assistant Kurt Rambis. None of those guys are around anymore. And though Fizdale was not part of the decision to select Dotson in the second round last June (No. 44), the Knicks coach has definite plans for the University of Houston product, according to sources.
“Coach is a great guy,” Dotson told The Post in a phone interview. “He knows what he is talking about. Very detailed and makes sure everyone is on the same page, feeding off each other and together. He’s big in to making sure we come together, play together and believe in each other. That we produce, play hard and scrappy. All the things that you want a coach to do. He inherited that mindset from [Pat] Riley and [Erik] Spoelstra. He has instilled a great culture in himself and wants to put that into our team.”
During the Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Cavaliers, Fizdale took young guards Dotson, Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay to Boston to experience the rabid postseason atmosphere. Left unsaid is it’s probably something Hornacek would not have thought of doing.
Dotson, who turned 24 last month, called it “a great experience,” even enjoying being heckled in Beantown.
“I had only been to two NBA games before as a fan,” said Dotson, a native of Houston. “And then going into TD Garden for a playoff game and seeing the passion of the fans and hearing them boo LeBron [James] and the Cavs. We even got booed.”
Indeed, Dotson had on Knicks gear.
“I was wearing a Knicks jacket, and a couple of fans recognized me, Frank and coach and told us how the Knicks stink,” Dotson said. “Coach talked to us the entire game, pointed things out. ‘You see this. You see that.’ We saw LeBron hold his teammates accountable and watched the young Boston guys compete and go at LeBron. It gave us insight that age doesn’t matter, as long as you compete.”
The Knicks possess a slew of shooting guards, especially with the club viewing Ntilikina as a potential 2 guard. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee are shooting guards and started together last season.
Also in the mix is Ron Baker, a favorite of Hornacek’s who may now reside on the outskirts of the rotation. After a wasted sophomore season, Baker is still rehabbing from shoulder surgery and won’t play summer league like Dotson will.
The 6-foot-5 Dotson appeared in 44 games last season, often in garbage time. He was noted for his potential as a 3-point shooter — though was only 32.4 percent behind the arc as a rookie — and tenacious defense. He also was shuttled to G-League Westchester for another 13 games. Hornacek often raved about Dotson’s willingness to “get after it’’ on defense.
“My rookie year was decent,’’ Dotson said. “I wasn’t super consistent and I need to be more consistent with knowing my role and defensive assignments. Sometimes I slipped up on assignments. I learned a lot throughout the season about what I need to get better at. I think it showed toward the end of the season when I was getting more playing time. The G-League experience was also great for me. It helped my confidence, showing me that I belong. I was also able to score the basketball and grab rebounds and play like I did in college.”
Dotson, who last week finished an internship at The Players’ Tribune, got word the Knicks could draft him as the day progressed.
“I didn’t leave that [workout] day thinking the Knicks would draft me,’’ Dotson said. “I had a good workout but didn’t get a lot of feedback. I was confident that I was going to get drafted. I got good feedback from all the teams — telling me I’m an NBA player. I heard [from agent Happy Walters] that morning the Knicks could pick me at 44. I was like, ‘How do you know that?’ Then at the draft, cameras came my way during the 40s. I thought, they weren’t lying.”
At the Las Vegas summer league in early July, unless the Knicks draft another point guard, Ntilikina and Dotson could well be the starting backcourt.
“I want to play as many games as I can,’’ Dotson said. “It’s all about getting better. Hopefully, we play every game and win it.”
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