RJ Barrett is out for at least a week with a right ankle sprain. Who steps up and fills his role for the New York Knicks?
After a tough loss to the Phoenix Suns, the New York Knicks had to face some more bad news when they found out that RJ Barrett had sprained his right ankle during the third quarter. Their standout rookie has been putting in solid contributions for them this year, averaging 14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds over 41 games. He’s been a leader of what the Knicks hope to be a rebuild towards the future, but an injury to one of your best players can always make the fans scared.
It can also make the fans redirect their attention to something else for the time being while Barrett is out rehabbing. Perhaps, someone can step up and prove their worth on the roster, playing themselves into consistent, rotational minutes.
The first name that popped into my head was highflyer, Kenny Wooten and how his NBA debut may come a little sooner than expected now that Barrett is sidelined. I then quickly came to the realization that there’s no chance Wooten is able to duplicate the amount of offensive creativity that Barrett brings to the floor on a nightly basis. So, who is another player that resembles Barrett’s 6’6 stature that is offensive-minded, has the potential to take over a game, and can easily turn into a force if he gets a hot hand?
The 6’7, 20-year-old forward out of Kentucky, Kevin Knox of course.
Now, I know that Barrett is probably out for no more than two to three weeks at the maximum, but this is still a great opportunity for Knox to prove why he still belongs as a crucial piece to this team’s future.
When asked about who was going to fill the shoes of the Canadian rookie, interim head coach, Mike Miller, hinted that it will more than likely be Reggie Bullock, but that “Everybody’s in play… so it could be an opportunity for somebody else to get more minutes.”
This season, Knox has started in four of 41 possible games, most likely because of the near-immediate surge of Barrett, but that doesn’t mean that the position is his for the taking just yet. Unluckily for him, this was the season the Knicks decided to go ahead and add seven million forwards onto their roster, so vying for minutes is going to be a tough task, but if anyone can make that jump, it’s Knox.
Some fans seem to forget that there were multiple times when Knox exploded for New York as a rookie.
Knox’s best rookie games:
- 26 points, 15 rebounds, 4 of 8 from 3
- 31 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals
- 26 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 of 12 from 3
- 27 points, 8 rebounds, 10 of 17 from the field
There were plenty more games like that where he was able to put up big numbers, but you get my point. He’s currently playing 19.6 minutes a game, which by no means is garbage time, but with some increased opportunity, there’s a high possibility he could replicate that production, even more frequently than last season. All he needs is a chance.