Is this the beginning of a New York Knicks redemption arc?

Evan Fournier, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Fournier, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Knicks
RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

Figuring out “the problem” with the New York Knicks offense this season has been an impossible task. When specific players’ lows have been so low, it’s easy to just have instant knee-jerk reactions that they’re the main cause for the lack of winning.

There are plenty of tools on this roster, in fact, it’s one of the deeper rosters in the NBA, it’s just been about figuring out the best combinations and roles for all of these players, which is easier said than done.

If I can think of an all-encompassing way to describe what needs to happen for the Knicks to succeed on offense, it’s that they need to play to each other’s strengths.

Again, easier said than done, but there is some data that we can point to that New York can continue to hammer.

New York Knicks: RJ Barrett & Evan Fournier roles

After watching these guys play together for almost half a season, it feels RJ Barrett needs to be involved in the playmaking more than Evan Fournier.

RJ Barrett is a much better downhill, attacking playmaker than Evan Fournier.

This is about more than just assist numbers, this is more about Barrett being able to consistently get into the teeth of the defense. He can navigate the interior and has shown the ability to make the right read, whether it’s the alley-oop to the rolling big or the cross-court kick-out to the open shooter.

While finishing at the rim has been an area of concern for Barrett, actually getting to the rim and drawing in defenders has been something he can do with ease.

There have been countless possessions this season where you see Evan Fournier have the ball and he’s just waiting for a play to develop. He’s holding the ball, not dribbling, watching teammates try to fight over screens, and suddenly there are 6 seconds left on the shot clock.

He does not have that same urge to put his head down and get to the rack that Barrett does, and that’s actually what we’ve seen more of from Barrett lately.

RJ Barrett has averaged 16.3 drives per game in his last four games. Prior to those four games, he was averaging 8.6 drives per game.

Barrett getting the ball in his hands earlier in the shot clock to generate offense can be a really effective part of this team’s success.

This isn’t even to say that Fournier can’t make plays. I watched the game last night. I saw him go supernova and drop 41 points.

It’s just that Fournier is at his best when he’s playing fast and playing along the perimeter. That means dribble handoffs and of course, catch-and-shoot 3s.

Let Fournier play get into those situations where his 2-3 dribble combos create the most space. If not, make him pass out and reset.

Speed and decision-making are paramount for this offense to get into a rhythm, especially for another key player.