With the second preseason game ahead for the New York Knicks, who could fill out the starting lineup?
On Friday, Oct. 11, the New York Knicks will play their first game at Madison Square Garden since the end of the 2018-19 season. The Washington Wizards, who they defeated on Monday, 104-99, are on their way to Manhattan for a rematch.
Without an announced starting lineup for opening night, it puts each preseason starting five into question. Who will David Fizdale try out one night? Will one of these lineups stick when the Knicks face the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 23?
The preseason opener may have hinted at some of the decisions, but it is possible for him to use an alternate lineup for this second game Friday night. Who could receive the nod? Let’s project:
Point Guard: Elfrid Payton
As of Oct. 10, Dennis Smith Jr.’s status for Friday is unknown, after he missed the first preseason game with a back injury. Elfrid Payton started the opener, and with the report of him playing into the full-time role, he should have another chance to handle the basketball.
Shooting Guard: RJ Barrett
For the second half of that game, RJ Barrett was the Knicks’ best player, finishing with 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting. Along with seven rebounds and three assists, it was a productive evening.
If Fizdale decides to mix and match, Barrett may not start each preseason game. However, after his night against the Wizards, he deserves another opportunity.
Marcus Morris is the latest player to weigh in on Kevin Durant saying the New York Knicks aren’t cool anymore.
In case you haven’t heard, the New York Knicks aren’t the “cool” team in the Big Apple anymore. During an interview with Hot 97, Kevin Durant said the Knicks are no longer the “cool” brand that they used to be.
The Knicks seem comfortable being the “uncool” crowd and no one more than Marcus Morris. The forward took to Twitter to subtweet Durant.
There is an interesting rivalry brewing in New York between the Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets. The long-time “little brother” in the market, the Nets are staking their claim on the city after a wildly successful offseason.
The Knicks aren’t quite “little brother” in this rivalry, but they are the scrappy underdog for sure. A blue-collar mentality can go a long way towards energizing fans who still pine for the rough-and-tumble days of the 90s Knicks.
Morris is quickly becoming a fan favorite in New York. He’s already vowed to bring toughness back to Madison Square Garden.
In the Knicks’ first preseason game against the Washington Wizards, Morris was ejected for bopping Justin Anderson on the head with the ball.
The forward was tossed mere seconds into the second half, but he managed to pour in 17 first-half points to give Knicks fans a taste of what’s to come.
But it’s worth noting, every team in the league vows to be “tougher” or “nastier” prior to the season. Actually performing in the regular season is a different story entirely.
The first lineup change, Kevin Knox slots in as the starting small forward. This has nothing to do with Marcus Morris’ early ejection, but just a chance to see how the second-year pro fares in his first start. Flip-flopping them to offer different lineup looks makes sense over the next three games.
Power Forward: Julius Randle
Amid other players’ nights, Julius Randle added seven rebounds and seven assists to his 11 points. Power forward is, without doubt, his spot, and unless Fizdale rests him for a full game, the most expensive newcomer will not leave the starting lineup.
Center: Mitchell Robinson
Another no-brainer, Mitchell Robinson is New York’s shot-blocking force, swatting four shots on Monday night. If Bobby Portis is healthy though, he could cut into some of those 28 minutes garnered.
Whoever opens this game for the New York Knicks, the action will start at 7:30 p.m. ET on MSG, NSWA and NBA League Pass.