The New York Knicks have put together another disappointing campaign. With 26 games left to play its time for Mike Miller to leave his veterans on the bench and play the young guns.
It’s no secret, the New York Knicks have struggled this year. The franchise is closing in on their 8th consecutive losing season.
Despite the losses piling up Mike Miller has resisted flooding his young players with minutes. Instead continuing to rely on veterans who don’t factor into the New York Knicks long-term plans.
With 26 games remaining in the season let’s take a look at which New York Knicks deserves to see the court.
Honorable Mention: Kenny Wooten
The New York Knicks signed Kenny Wooten from the G-League to a two-way contract amid reports that other teams were interested in the undrafted forward. We have still yet to see Kenny Wooten suit up for the New York Knicks.
A large part of that had to do with a dislocated finger that has held Wooten out since January 21st, but he made his return last night in the G-League. Wooten started and played 38 minutes for the Westchester Knicks putting up 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks.
Known as a high-flying blocker at Oregon Wooten hasn’t disappointed averaging 3.6 blocks a game in Westchester, producing numerous highlights. Kenny Wooten hasn’t stepped onto the floor for the New York Knicks but over the next 26 games that should change.
Dennis Smith Jr. has struggled heavily in the Big Apple this season. The former NC State product has averaged career lows in minutes, points, assist and FG% while dealing with injury this season.
At the end of last season Dennis Smith Jr. balled out for the New York Knicks after being shipped over from the Dallas Mavericks. Through 21 games Smith Jr. averaged 14.7 points and 5.1 assist in New York.
I’m not saying if Dennis Smith Jr. receives a consistent bump in playing time we will see those numbers again. In fact he has done very little to encourage such thought, but despite his struggles the young point guard still needs to see the floor.
Last night the New York Knicks lost to the Indiana Pacers 106-98 in the first taste of post All-Star break action. Dennis Smith Jr. only found the court for 16 minutes, the lowest of any New York Knick who played. Dennis Smith Jr. ‘s still couldn’t find his shot going 1-6 from the field, but he was able to pick up 6 assists which was by far the best on the team.
Dennis Smith Jr. is only 22 years-old and he needs playing time to continue his development. Over the next 26 games Dennis Smith Jr. should receive a consistent 20 minutes a night. The New York Knicks need to evaluate if the point guard has shown enough potential so far to avoid his third team in five years.
Before this season tipped off I was convinced Kevin Knox was going to have a breakout sophomore campaign. As a rookie the forward averaged 12.8 points on 34% shooting from deep.
Being a one-and-done prospect out of Kentucky it was expected for Knox to not have the smoothest transition into league. After getting his rookie season under his belt I expected Kevin Knox to soar, instead he has only disappointed.
Kevin Knox has regressed in his second campaign averaging 6.2 points on career worst shooting splits and playing 10 minutes less than last season. In the first two weeks of the season Knox was shooting a lights out 44.6% from deep, but that didn’t last long. Taking a look at Knox’s 3FG% by month shows how far he’s dropped off.
Talk about regression. Every single month of the season Kevin Knox shot the ball worse, but at just 20 years old and the current state of the New York Knicks, Knox should not stop shooting. Over the final 26 games Kevin Knox needs playing time to get comfortable on the floor again.
Shooters need rhythm, and to get rhythm you need time and shooters can’t get the rhythm they need to succeed when they receive such spotty playing time.
Currently the New York Knicks are 17-39, this team needs to start thinking about the future. That starts with giving your young players minutes to help them develop and work through their disappointments. You do miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so let the youngsters shoot away.