After trading away their cornerstone superstar just last week, the New York Knicks have made it abundantly clear that they have their eyes fixed on the future. This season has long been a foregone conclusion, and the moves made by the team’s front office in the past week or so only further proves the same.

Nonetheless, head coach David Fizdale has praised his youngsters for still putting up a good fight night in and night out, despite the circumstances. This was on full display on Friday as the Knicks put up a valiant comeback attempt against the Detroit Pistons after being down by 19 after the first quarter.

“It just ends up breaking you when you don’t hit those shots, especially after you gain so much momentum fighting back,” Fizdale said, via ESPN. “But, I was pretty proud of the way the kids battled back and got themselves into that game.”

With the team now focused on youth development (and signing one or two superstars in the offseason, of course), the “kids” in the team have been given the freedom to express themselves on the basketball court.

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They did not disappoint on Friday night, with newly-acquired guard Dennis Smith Jr., 21, leading the foiled fightback for New York. He finished with 31 huge points on 9-of-15 shooting and 11-of-19 from the line, along with two rebounds, eight assists, and two steals.

Rookie Kevin Knox, 19, logged 36 minutes of action in the 120-013 defeat, but only provided seven points on eight shot attempts.

Damyean Dotson, (24) Allonzo Trier (23), and Mitchell Robinson (20), have also been making noise for the rebuilding Knicks of late, as they all try to force their way into the team’s young nucleus.

Despite a painful rest-of-season outlook for the Knicks, the future has not been as bright in the past decade or so as it is now.