Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau lost patience with his starting lineup Wednesday and with the theory that they need more time together to be effective. RJ Barrett, one of the holdovers from last season, agrees that the starters haven’t played well enough but believes the problems will eventually work themselves out, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.
“Everything takes time — any new team,’’ Barrett said. “No one’s going to have it right away off the bat. It takes time. We’re trying to figure out who we are if we’re going to be consistent. I think this whole team. Even though we were together last year, the guys that were here, we’re still learning each other, so we’re gonna keep growing, improving.’’
New York is 7-6, but all five starters are posting negative plus-minus ratings. Evan Fournier, who was added in free agency over the summer, believes the offense has gotten “very stagnant” when the starting lineup is on the court together.
“We started really well, shooting the ball well, sharing the ball, etcetera,” he said. “Now it’s not as good. So are we playing not as well because we are missing shots or are we missing shots because we aren’t sharing the ball.’’
There’s more from New York:
- The Knicks aren’t getting their money’s worth from Fournier so far, Berman states in a separate story. They signed him for $78MM over four years, but Thibodeau appears to have lost confidence in him late in games. Berman points out that Fournier has been benched for the final 14 minutes of the last two contests, both losses, and he isn’t providing the clutch shots or hustle on defense that the team needs.
- Another issue is a lack of chemistry between new point guard Kemba Walker and Julius Randle, Berman adds. Both players are used to controlling the ball, and a scout tells Berman that Randle “pouts” when he feels he doesn’t have it enough. Berman notes that Randle, who had five turnovers in Friday’s loss to the Hornets, is starting to revert to iso-ball habits. “I definitely think there’s games where we’re being outworked, outrebounded,’’ Randle said. “Our identity’s not our defensive end (like) how it has been. But we know that. We know we got to fix it. We just got to keep working at it, just keep coming together and stay together.’’
- Sopan Deb of The New York Times examines what has gone wrong with the Knicks’ defense, which was the core of the team’s identity last season.