Why the Knicks might change their starting lineup soon – if history repeats itself

Almost a year ago, Tom Thibodeau made a surprising change to New York Knicks’ The starting lineup. With his team preparing for a match against the Croestown rival Brooklyn Networks And come out with an encouraging victory over Atlanta Hawksthe coach sat down in front of the reporters and announced that he was changing the All-Star goalkeeper.

Kemba Walker was going into the seat and out of the rotation completely. Alec Burks You will enter the first unit.

The trade-off was, in a way, shocking and long-lasting. Thibodeau’s reputation is clear: he loves what he loves. Nicks had just given Walker a two-year contract. So far, Tebodo has mostly stuck with the veteran, except for a few moments when the defensive-minded player shuts down matches.

But the Knicks’ first unit was also the most squishy punching bag in the NBA. No squad around the league has played more than a minute. However, almost no lineup was defeated so badly.

It soon became clear that an adjustment was necessary. After 19 matches, Thibodeau made one.

There is a concept being taught in middle school history classes across the country: historical patterns. Similar personalities controlling similar situations behave similarly. Well, it’s been a year, and it’s possible that the Knicks are approaching one of those similar situations – even though they got there in a new way.

Knicks 3-4. They gave up a 23-point lead over the Hawks in their first home loss of the season. Parts of the first unit are encouraging. Julius Randle It plays more economically. Galen Bronson He is the best goalkeeper the Knicks have known for decades. Mitchell Robinson Sometimes the power is low. However, the results are not very glossy.

The freshmen have played 110 minutes together so far. They make up the fifth most used squad in the NBA at the moment. However, they were outperformed by 9.2 points per 100 possessions.

Seven games too early to expect some major revision. But suffice it to ask, for a second fall in a row, how long is enough?

“We’ll see how it unfolds,” Tibodo said when asked how much of the starting lineup he needs to see before he feels comfortable adjusting it. “So, you want to make sure you take a good look at everything.”

unit one (Bronson, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Randle and Robinson) were the group on the field when the Hawks crushed the Knicks to start the second half on Wednesday. Atlanta eventually finished with a 112-99 victory.

The junior defense was suspicious. They allow 116.9 points for every 100 possessions. For perspective, if that number belonged to a team, it would be ranked 27th in the NBA. Defensive recoil was a problem. The group as a whole, not just Robinson, is too polluting.

Early season numbers are often misleading. But this pass the eye test. And it wouldn’t be so noticeable if a line-up adjustment was not inevitable, like last season.

There’s a reason to discuss it here, and not just because the Knicks lost their first game they were supposed to win this season. (Until Wednesday, they had achieved chalk victories on their land over the militants Orlando MagicAnd the Detroit Pistons And the Charlotte Hornets And the losses of the road to the strong Milwaukee BucksAnd the Memphis Grizzlies And the Cleveland Cavaliers.) Quentin GrimesWho missed the first six games of the season due to what Knicks described as left foot pain, is now back. It is possible that if Thibodeau chooses to make a change to the first unit, Grimes is part of it.

Thibodeau has always been an ardent supporter of the Grimes. He was one of the raucous behind-the-scenes voices that prompted the front office to bring the 22-year-old back when the Knicks picked him with the No. 25 pick two years ago. Multiple reports during this past season have suggested that one of the reasons the Knicks were unable to reach an agreement with Utah Jazz All star keeper Donovan Mitchell It was because they wouldn’t part with the Grimes.

At some point, it may come time for the team to put its money where it is. And that mouth took a crushed upper jaw from Atlanta.

One of the reasons the first unit struggled was its defense at the point of attack. The Ballhandlers chopped up the Knicks in moments – the latest example to come Dignity Murray, who scored 36 points on Wednesday, although Murray took a lot of his damage in the transition, another defensive weakness for beginners. Grimes is the Knicks’ best perimeter defender, managing junior guards in particular.

So far this season, that job has passed to Barrett, who has had to face off with brilliant creators like Ja Morante And the Tra Young. He was not always standing in front of them. Barrett is a high-effort defender, but these guys are very fast.

Introducing Grimes into Unit One will reshape defensive matches. Grimes can take a lead catching or chase some slippery energy bunny around the pin. Barrett can ease his stress level, slipping on the wing more than he does now.

Players like Grimes (and we’re talking about style here as much as elemental ability) are naturally better suited to the starting unit. A first-class ocean defense is more valuable against beginners than against reserves. If you are Knicks and need to beat the Bucks, would you rather fight the Grimes Jrue holiday or George Hill?

Knicks is still waiting for him to get his rhythm back.

They used it for litter time against hawks. Eventually, it will smooth his way into the spin. How Thibodeau publishes it will depend on the match.

“A lot of it is situational,” Tibodo said. “So if your match is a player beyond dribbling, he’s good at it. He’s also very good at taking photos, locking and tracking people, and keeping in touch. He has great feet. He has anticipation. He has strength.”

The question is, will the first unit get a chance to see those traits? And if so, how often?

Perhaps an unexpected change will come. maybe Isaiah Hartenstein Robinson’s spot ruptured, considering how tight the floor was in the midsection. Hartenstein can shoot and has a buoy that pulls defenders out of the paint. Robinson campes strategically in the lane to go to skateboards and attack boards. But a shift in position, especially after Robinson’s re-lift for four more seasons, isn’t likely or even wise. Beginners with Hartenstein didn’t look much better in their minutes together.

At the moment, Fournier is the starting guard. But Knicks struggles when he’s there. The on/off data cannot and should not speak for itself on November 4. However, we can bookmark the stats for check-in on the road. One of the numbers that deserves attention at the end of the month is the Knicks’ performance with Fournier on the field versus off the bench. Right now, it’s 19.8 points per 100 possessions worse when he’s in the game, according to Cleaning the Glass.

One of the reasons Thibodeau pulled Walker out of the starting line-up last season was the unpleasant manipulation/suspension.

Thibodeau thought of what it might look like beginning with the Grimes split up there. Grimes missed the start of the season with a foot injury before returning for the final show when he was on minute restraints. But instead of rolling out a second-year tampon as a regular spare, Tibodo rocked things up. Grimes saved at halftime when he could run alongside Brunson, Barrett, Randle and Robinson.

There is only one reason to do this: have a look.

Thibodeau is big on being more important than beginners. Just because Fournier started a game doesn’t mean he has to finish it. But if the warts continue to appear in the first unit, a change may occur.

Maybe not today or tomorrow.

But maybe sometime soon, Thibodeau will want to take another look.


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(Top image by Quentin Grimes: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

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