2. RJ Barrett will get minutes at PF
RJ Barrett isn’t a total stranger to playing power forward. In fact, according to Basketball Reference, Barrett played five percent of his total minutes at the four in 2021-22. With the loss of Obi Toppin, the current backup power forward on the Knicks is Isaiah Roby, which is far from ideal. This opens the door for Barrett and Josh Hart to see an increase in minutes at the position.
Hart may have a better skill set to be a power forward, but there are times when Barrett may be the better choice to play the four due to his size. If Barrett improves his three-point shooting, he could be a better fit at the position than Hart.
Lineups with Barrett or Hart at the four likely won’t see a lot of success, but there’s reason to suspect they could play very well against certain teams. This will determine which player between Barrett and Hart will play the four. If the Knicks are playing a bigger, slower-paced team, Barrett will likely play power forward, but if it’s a smaller, faster team, it’ll be Hart.
It will be interesting to see how Tom Thibodeau handles this situation. While he could run Roby at times, it likely isn’t the best choice to have him be the Knicks’ primary backup four. Roby isn’t the worst player in the NBA, but it would be much more beneficial for the team to see either Barrett or Hart man the position instead.