New York Knicks: Five super-early reactions to 2019-20 season

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(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

3. Questionable rotations

Coach David Fizdale received, for the most part, a pass for the 2018-19 season. The New York Knicks were historically bad, but their roster was gutted by management in the Kristaps Porzingis trade and players starting games were either rookies, better suited as backups or belonged in the G League.

Now, Fizdale has a real NBA roster to work with. 14 healthy players on guaranteed contracts are around, including talented veterans like Randle, Marcus Morris and Bobby Portis. A gluten of players also means constructing a rotation and leaving multiple players outside the mix. While inevitable, questions have arisen for minutes allocation.

It started with point guard and the aforementioned Barrett-Trier experiment, featuring no ball facilitators and five shot-first players. Once that failed, Fizdale corrected it with Payton, but the backup, Smith Jr., continued to receive minutes despite poor play at both ends of the court. The head coach put the third-year guard into Saturday’s game against Boston, despite being a detriment, and the game swung away from the Knicks.

Sitting Wayne Ellington against the Celtics, when the Knicks struggled to shoot three-pointers, was questionable, as well. For a team with a backcourt that cannot always stretch the floor, the veteran guard would come into better use than missing seven of the last eight quarters.

Ntilikina’s situation is the most divisive among Knicks fans, but not giving him a chance to limit the Celtics’ Kemba Walker was a missed opportunity.

With too many players to use, and Reggie Bullock‘s eventual return, sorting playing time will not disappear any time soon, potentially to Fizdale’s detriment.