The New York Knicks have the ability to experiment with endless lineup combinations, but these five stand out for what they can bring to the table.
Lineups were never consistent for the New York Knicks in head coach David Fizdale’s first season in charge. The starting five changed after the fifth game and consistently featured different looks. Even the in-game lineups of reserves offered groups of five never seen before.
Fizdale experimented with Mitchell Robinson and Luke Kornet in the frontcourt, Frank Ntilikina on and off the ball, Dennis Smith Jr. as the primary ballhandler and even Mario Hezonja as the point forward. It was a “developmental” season for a reason, and the coach in his first year tried to make the most of it.
Offseason roster changes will give Fizdale a chance to tinker with new groups and see what works. These do not all have to become starting lineups, but units of five that provide their own intrigue and value.
Five lineup combinations stand out before the Knicks open prep for the regular season. What should Fizdale try? Let’s take a look:
5. The standard
A “standard” lineup is the expected, predictable lineup for the New York Knicks. These players are all capable of not only starting together but playing significant minutes throughout games, given their respective skillsets.
- Dennis Smith Jr. – Smith has a battle ahead to start at point guard, but his familiarity and inability to prove himself due to injury can lead to Fizdale craving a longer look.
- RJ Barrett – High draft picks usually take starting roles immediately. While Barrett is not guaranteed this, it is difficult to think his on-court load will be small.
- Marcus Morris – Morris gets the nod for his ability to impact both ends of the floor and counter the one-sided players in the frontcourt.
- Julius Randle – On the team’s largest salary, Randle will receive heavy minutes early, often and throughout the season. He will be a main contributor in this “standard” look.
- Mitchell Robinson – The sky’s the limit for Robinson, who is defense-heavy compared to Randle’s offensive play. They should offset each other in this lineup.
This is a group fans may see often, but a talented set-up that offers a bit of everything in ball handling, defense and shooting, even if the latter has some questions.