The New York Knicks dropped back down below .500 Sunday afternoon as they were downed by the Phoenix Suns by a final score of 116-95.
Though clearly this loss should be chalked up to being an overall team collapse, particularly in the second half where the Knicks were outscored 61 to 42, it appears as though all fans can seemingly talk about are the struggles of franchise centerpiece, RJ Barrett.
Mere minutes after the final buzzer sounded at the Footprint Center, the wing’s name was found trending on Twitter, with the vast majority of users highlighting his offensive inefficiencies of late, particularly in the shooting department.
Some were quick to go back to the oft-discussed talking point that the Knicks opted to sign the 22-year-old to a four-year, $120 million contract extension this past summer rather than trade him for highly coveted star guard Donovan Mitchell.
In Sunday’s contest RJ Barrett posted a lackluster stat-line of 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists and, over the Knicks’ last five outings, finds himself sporting underwhelming averages of 12.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.6 rebounds per game on a putrid 26.3% shooting from the floor.
Sophomore Guard Bright Spot for Knicks
Though New York’s third-year wing in Barrett may have severely struggled Sunday against Phoenix, sophomore guard Quentin Grimes proved to be arguably one of the team’s lone bright spots.
After slowly reintegrating himself back into head coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation following a nagging foot injury that held him out of all but one preseason game, the 22-year-old saw himself taking the place of absent Cam Reddish (held out with a groin injury) within the starting lineup.
With this role, Grimes saw just over 32 minutes of action and posted an impressive stat line of 10 points, 5 rebounds, and a block on 40% shooting from the floor while also leading the team in assists with 8 (a career-high).
After having seen less than 10 minutes played in all but one game so far in 2022-23, the hope for many is likely that as the season progresses Quentin Grimes will start to see more turnouts and more opportunities similar to the one he saw against the Suns.
Reddish Impressing Knicks Teammates
Though he may have sat out during their November 20 outing against the Phoenix Suns, Knicks wing Cam Reddish has certainly made his presence felt on the floor during the early stages of this season.
In a November 19 piece penned by Steve Popper of Newsday, it was reported that big man Julius Randle has been incredibly impressed with the wing’s production, as he told Popper that Reddish’s ability to play both ends of the floor is what’s been the most noteworthy aspect of his efforts.
“He’s just showing his versatility,” Randle said of Reddish. “He’s so talented. He can really score the ball, but he’s showing he’s two-way and he can lock up and defend, whether it’s guards or wings. So as long as he keeps doing that, his value is amazing to us.”
In the final year of his rookie-scale contract, the former 10th overall pick has found himself posting solid averages of 9.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and half a block on 45% shooting from the floor in 23.3 minutes per game with the Knicks.