As a matter of fact, this came away as another winnable game for the New York Knicks. The Knicks regress to 5-7 as the Nets improve to 7-6.
Here are some things I took away from tonight’s game:
Immanuel Quickley Goes Off, Elfrid Payton Can’t Figure It Out
Coming into tonight’s game, Immanuel Quickley shot two of 24 from the field, meaning he was in a major slump. The rookie gave the Knicks a major jolt tonight in the shooting department, breaking out of his slump. Quickley scored 19 points in tonight’s effort while shooting three of six from downtown. For once, he was not concentrated on drawing fouls. His floater does need work, though. Once again, the rookie gave the offense a jolt and set a more rapid pace than his counterpart, veteran point guard Elfrid Payton.
The Knicks have no answer at point guard right now. Elfrid Payton has been a complete abomination and is the ultimate stat-padder. He can’t shoot to save his life and hasn’t shotten well throughout his entire career. There are times you question his effort on the court. He also slows down the pace of the offense. Usually, when Payton is subbed out, the offense finds its rhythm. Everyone but head coach Tom Thibodeau is seeing Payton’s lackluster play in front of their eyes.
Austin Rivers is a combo guard but seems to fit better as a shooting guard. He’s been fairly consistent, although he only manufactured eight points tonight. Rivers is best suited coming off of the bench.
Does anyone want to try Dennis Smith Jr.? It’s probably a foregone conclusion that he’ll only be used in garbage time. The reality is the Knicks don’t have a point guard and need one desperately.
Kevin Knox Is Becoming A True Role Player, Alec Burks Is Still Missed
To the surprise of many, Kevin Knox is becoming a significant role player for the Knicks. I might be overhyping him a little bit but I think he knows where his place is. As everyone knows, Knox showed a promising rookie season in 2018 before falling off in 2019. His minutes were taken by vets, so on, and so on.
It doesn’t look like Kevin Knox will be an All-Star or any player of that caliber. As a matter of fact, Knox might be the Knicks’ best three-point threat. With the team down Alec Burks, Knox has shot 41.7 percent from beyond the arc, a career-high. His aggressiveness is more visible and his defense has improved. Knox scored 13 points tonight on 5/6 from the field. I honestly believe he should be getting more minutes in games now. He also needs plays driven around his three-point ability. The Knicks’ offense would be so much better.
But, is Kevin Knox better suited as someone coming off of the bench or start in the lineup? The Knicks haven’t had a legitimate three-point threat off of the bench since Steve Novak in the early 2010s. Maybe I am overexaggerating. But, fans should be happy with Knox’s performance so far this season.
Overall, the Knicks had a solid shooting performance, hitting 47.8 percent of their shots. The Knicks also shot 39.3 percent from downtown, which isn’t terrible. But to be honest, the shooting momentum came too late. If it wasn’t Julius Randle, Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, or Kevin Knox shooting, the Knicks had no shooting momentum against the Nets.
The shooting statistics look good but they still miss Alec Burks.
Fans Calling Out RJ Barrett For Shooting Slump
You’re clearly blind if you don’t see that sophomore RJ Barrett is in a major shooting slump. But, fans are already ready to jump off of the RJ Barrett bandwagon, which is quite unfair. Barrett did play an okay game tonight, scoring 20 points. More importantly, heating up in the second half.
Anyway, it’s unjustified to hop off of the RJ Barrett train at this point in the game. Yes, his shooting inconsistencies date back to last season. Yes, RJ Barrett’s offensive game will become easier to guard and more predictable if he doesn’t develop a three-point jumper. Not justifying Barrett’s shooting woes, but does he have help? Does Barrett have consistent point guard play? Does he have spacing around him? Those are all factors but indeed RJ Barrett needs to get better. He’s not a bust, Knicks fans.