The New York Knicks won their second straight game on Tuesday, thumping ex-Knick Cam Reddish and the Blazers 123-107 in Portland. Along the way, RJ Barrett stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting with five boards and three blocked shots.
Even as his scoring has seen an uptick over the last six games — during which he has averaged 24.0 PPG — though, his net impact on New York’s bottom line has continued to be negative in nature. Dating back to Josh Hart’s arrival, a period that has seen the Knicks post an 11-3 record, the club has been outscored by 0.5 points per 100 possessions when Barrett has been on the floor.
Meanwhile, his net swing of minus-22.6 is far and away the worst mark teamwide over that stretch (among rotation players).
In other words, Barrett remains a mixed bag for the Knicks even when everything else is clicking around him. With that being the case, one analyst believes that head coach Tom Thibodeau should be trimming his workload heading into postseason play.
B/R: Knicks Shouldn’t ‘Spoon-Feed’ Minutes to RJ Barrett
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley just put out a feature on some of the big changes the Knicks “must make in order to compete for an NBA championship” during this year’s postseason run. And the first item on his list was easing up on Barrett’s usage, the baller’s status as a former No. 3 overall pick notwithstanding.
“As recently as last summer, you could’ve made the argument he was their most important player,” Buckley wrote. “Things change in a hurry in this league, though. He has already been passed in the pecking order by Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, but New York should think about dropping Barrett even lower.
“Barrett’s flashes aren’t enough to justify a role of this size… They don’t have to bury him in the rotation, but until he starts showing better consistency at both ends, he can’t be spoon-fed this much floor time.”
The hoops scribe further noted that the only players among the top 50 minute-getters in the Association — a group that currently includes Barrett — with a worse plus/minus than the blue-chipper’s minus-1.2 PPG are LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Paolo Banchero, Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., all of whom play for losing teams.
Additionally, Barrett’s defensive rating of 116.2 is the second-worst number on the team for the campaign.
Alonzo Mourning Comments on Knicks-Heat Rivalry in the ’90s
Miami Heat legend and Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning just put dropped a career retrospective for The Players’ Tribune in the form of a letter to his younger self. In doing so, the 53-year-old touched on a number of Heat-related topics.
That includes those infamous battles with the New York Knicks during his mid-to-late ’90s heyday, about which he had this to say:
Brawls will happen.
There will be a bunch of them over the course of four consecutive playoff matchups. Dudes will be getting flipped into the stands. Punches getting thrown. Players getting tackled. You name it. Just brawl after brawl. And I’m not going to say whose fault it all was. But, I mean….
It was definitely the Knicks’ fault. Hahaha.
You’re going to love every second of it, though. That type of fierce competition is going to raise the hair on the back of your neck, and you’ll have so much fun in those moments. Before each new season, you’re going to grab a bright red sharpie, pull out your calendar, and draw a giant X on the dates of all the Knicks games. You’ll count down the days to those matchups and make sure you’re ready to bring your A-game on those nights for sure.