2: The starting lineup struggled yet again
This was another rough game for the starting lineup, as outside of RJ Barrett, almost every player struggled on both sides of the ball. I’m not saying that Barrett was perfect defensively, as he had moments of poor play. However, he was undoubtedly the best all-around player in the starting lineup against Cleveland.
Outside of Barrett, Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson wasn’t necessarily terrible, but for how much the team is paying him, Brunson must be more consistent.
In this game, Brunson dropped 16 points, seven assists, and three steals while shooting 8-for-19 from the field and 0-for-3 from behind the arc. Again, not necessarily terrible, but he must be better.
As for the rest of the lineup, Julius Randle struggled yet again, shooting 5-for-13 with four turnovers, seven assists, and five fouls. Mitchell Robinson was in foul trouble yet again and shot 2-for-6. While Evan Fournier was efficient from the field, he was his usual self on the defensive side of the ball, which is terrible.
This starting lineup has not really meshed well together to start the season so far. While the bench has been good, a team cannot rely on its bench for sustainable success as the season goes on.
It will be interesting to see if Tom Thibodeau decides to make a change to the starting lineup, as we have seen how stubborn he is to do so. However, if the Knicks continue to lose with the starting lineup playing poorly, the front office could force his hand.