Shooting guard depth is about to become even more crowded for the New York Knicks.
RJ Barrett is the New York Knicks’ starting shooting guard. That much is obvious. Everything else at this position is in question, as Damyean Dotson, Wayne Ellington, and Allonzo Trier have all taken minutes behind the team’s star rookie.
This spot has also been bombarded by injuries, from Dotson being slow to return from shoulder surgery to Ellington’s Achilles injury earlier this month, which he is still recovering from.
However, it’s set to be even more cluttered, with Reggie Bullock practicing and nearing a return from fusion surgery this past summer. He has yet to play this season and could fit as depth 3-point shooting.
The more imminent return is Trier, who missed a handful of games with concussion-like symptoms. Per The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov, the second-year guard is available to play in Friday’s game against the Miami Heat.
That eventually leaves Bullock, Dotson, Ellington and Trier, when all healthy, to fight for minutes behind a player who averages over 30 per game. That’s a problem for some of them, and as seen for most of this season, it will cost someone playing time.
Trier has been the main subject of a lost on-court role, whether for David Fizdale or interim coach Mike Miller. He could recover time without Ellington, but using three point guards also clogs the battle for playing time, potentially making it difficult to carve a spot away from the end of the bench.
Dotson has been a mainstay for most of the regular season due to his two-way ability. He averages just 16 minutes per game, but playing time remains consistent.
Ellington’s defense shows up, but he still shoots just 32.1 percent from the field. If Bullock plays well upon return, and figure he is given at least one extended chance to impress Miller, it could be at the expense of the 32-year-old two-guard.
The battle for a role behind Barrett will close 2019 and stretch into the next decade. Perhaps two of them will emerge, but players will inevitably be left outside of the mix. It could be a fluctuating situation for a while.