WATCH: David Fizdale on what Knicks can learn from Nets rebuild

David Vertsberger

Prior to the Knicks' Sunday evening bout agiainst their crosstown rival Brooklyn Nets, SI.com asked head coach David Fizdale what aspect of Brooklyn's rebuild he'd like to emulate with his team.

"We just gotta keep growing our kids, I think that's the biggest thing, and be patient in free agency, and it'll happen," Fizdale said.

The Knicks struck out in last summer's free agent bonanza, which saw megastars like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and others switch teams, none of which being New York. Despite this, Fizdale has made progress with his young group early into this new season.

RJ Barrett has made strides in only his first year, looking better with each level of exhibition, from Vegas Summer League, to preseason to this regular season. Frank Ntilikina has turned a corner with his confidence and scoring ability. Kevin Knox is coming along slower, but has made tangible improvements to his three-point stroke. The Nets did the same with their young pieces - Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Rodions Kurucs - but Fizdale wants to preach patience with his team's growth.

"Really it wasn't that fast, they didn't get there until four years into it," Fizdale said. "It's hard, it's tough when you're starting from a bunch of young guys."  

The Knicks may still be a few years away, but tonight they get to take on a team that represents what they could be. Brooklyn was able to build enough of a talent and culture foundation through years of losing to entice both Durant and Irving, the level of free agent the Knicks have consistently coveted. New York is in the beginnings of putting that foundation together, but can show off their progress tonight in a desperately needed win.

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