New York Knicks: The rotation crunch has already taken ugly turn

New York Knicks (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks crunched their rotation in the season-opening loss to the San Antonio Spurs, leaving a few players on the outside of the mix.

14 healthy players did not leave the New York Knicks with depth questions, but who would play and how often became an issue once the team filled this roster in July, and it spilled into the preseason.

Head coach David Fizdale tinkered the rotations in the four exhibition games, leaving some players not appearing for one matchup, two or almost all of them. SNY’s Ian Begley had reported that players were already unhappy with a lack of on-court time.

In Wednesday’s season-opening loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the rotation crunch carried over, and a handful of players found themselves on the outside of the mix. Perhaps it was just for one night, but if Fizdale keeps his rotation at 10 or 11, this will be a recurring theme for the next 81 games.

Allonzo Trier

Allonzo Trier started this game for the Knicks, but he was yanked after just six minutes. His backcourt duo with RJ Barrett did not work, and Fizdale kept the second-year guard on the bench for the rest of the game.

That might not indicate anything damaging yet, as Trier still did enough to start, but another shaky game could push him further down the bench.

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Frank Ntilikina

It took until the third quarter for Frank Ntilikina to earn minutes, and his stint lasted just shy of 180 seconds. With two bad passes that led to turnovers and a personal foul, he was pulled from the game and never returned. Plus, Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton both entered the game ahead of the Frenchman, who is now a candidate for a “DNP-CD.”

Ignas Brazdeikis

As it went in the preseason, Ignas Brazdeikis did not play at all. He has a long way towards finding a meaningful role, let alone late-game garbage minutes.

Damyean Dotson

Damyean Dotson received a look upon return from shoulder surgery earlier this month, but that did not carry over into the regular season. He plays well enough at both ends of the court to be a role player, but if this continues, the Houston product is a logical trade candidate.

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Mitchell Robinson not playing due to an ankle injury may only continue this list of players receiving minimal time or a “DNP-CD” next to their name. It makes this no easier for the coaching staff as this young season begins.