Nikola Vucevic Hints at Knicks Bench Player as Potential Difference Maker

Nikola Vucevic, Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

Getty Nikola Vucevic, Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

As the New York Knicks stumbled to a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat on May 6, it was clear that their offense was lacking a sparkplug off the bench.

Shooting just 34.1% as a unit from the field and a mind-numbing 20% from the field, the Knicks’ inability to convert their shooting opportunities allowed the Heat to earn a 105-86 victory, giving them a slight edge in their second-round playoff series.

However, Chicago Bulls big man Nikola Vucevic wasn’t impressed by New York’s rotations and took to Twitter to remind Tom Thibodeau and his coaching staff that they have a genuine scoring threat sitting on their bench but not getting any playing time.

“Knicks need some shooting to help their offense…they do have a guy sitting on the bench that can do that,” Vucevic tweeted.

There is no telling whether Vucevic was referring to Evan Fournier or Derrick Rose, yet an argument could be made that either of those two could have provided an offensive punch for a Knicks team that looked stagnant from the opening tip.

Tom Thibodeau Sounds Off on Knicks Offense

When addressing the media following New York’s mauling by Miami, head coach Tom Thibodeau discussed his team’s struggles on the offensive end, noting how the entire team is to blame for their poor execution.

“I thought defensively; we were solid. But I thought offensively; we didn’t play the way we wanted to,” Thibodeau said. “And I don’t put it on any one player because I think it’s done collectively. And if we have three guys in the right spot and one guy not, the whole unit suffers. So everybody has gotta do their job, they gotta understand what their job is, and you gotta do your job.”

If New York wants to even up their series against Miami, they will need to make some offensive adjustments, which could mean that either Fournier or Rose will get some minutes in game four.

Jimmy Butler Praises Julius Randle

He might have struggled to make an impact on May 6, but it would appear that Heat star Jimmy Butler has been impressed with what he has seen from Julius Randle throughout the series thus far.

As when Butler spoke to the media on May 6, he credited the All-Star forward as being a genuine all-around player, noting how difficult of a task it is to guard him, regardless of the defenders you have on your team.

“Julius is a tough cover for anybody,” Butler said. “Bam, myself, Caleb, Gabe, Kyle, because he’s constantly in attack mode, and he does everything so well on the basketball floor. He’s like the true definition of an all-around player.”

Randle, 28, has played in 77 regular-season games for the Knicks this year, averaging 25.1 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 45.9% from the field and 34.3% from deep.
The Knicks will be back in action against Miami on Monday, May 8, as they attempt to even the score at 2-2; otherwise, they face the unenviable task of trying to fight back from a 3-1 deficit against a Heat team with a significant amount of postseason experience.