Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Depending on how you view these things, you may have found value in RJ Barrett playing late in the Knicks' blowout loss to Sacramento, or you may have found it absurd.
Barrett, as you'd imagine, didn't have a problem with it.
"I haven't even played 10 games yet, so for me to be on the court, coach trusts me to be on the court at that time in the game," he said Tuesday at Knicks practice. "I'm learning all sorts of things, being down, being up."
David Fizdale promptly cut off a question from a reporter about Barrett's minutes after Sunday's game against the Kings. Barrett played 40 minutes in the game and was on the floor in the fourth quarter of the blowout loss.
"He needs all the reps he can get so I thought it was important that we had some good minutes in that game, regardless of what the score was," Fizdale said on Tuesday when asked about the value of playing Barrett when the game had already been decided. "I thought that group did a good job of continuing to play hard. I think we ended up cutting it finally to 14 before I finally started to pull guys out of there. But there's no need to throw a whole game away because you're getting whacked out of the first three quarters. You can still get better in those minutes."
Barrett is playing 37 minutes per game so far for New York (1-7), which plays Detroit on Wednesday.
Some commentators on social media point to scientific evidence to say that Barrett, 19, shouldn't be playing that much for the Knicks because it leaves him more susceptible to injury.
Others thought it was unnecessary to risk injury to Barrett by playing him late in the Sacramento loss.
Some former players, including NBA vets Damon Stoudemire and Kenny Anderson, chimed in, saying Barrett is young enough to play all the minutes he can handle.
Fizdale on Tuesday said the idea of resting healthy players makes sense in certain cases.
"I think it's all based on the guy, his body, health situation, age, I think a lot of stuff goes in to it. But not young kids," he said, smiling.
Barrett is fifth in the NBA in minutes per game and he leads all rookies. You can probably find evidence to support both sides of this debate, but it's worth noting that Damian Lillard played 39 minutes per game as a rookie and LeBron James averaged 39 minutes per game as a rookie.
The Knicks, like many NBA teams, have used wearable technology during practices to monitor players' workloads in the past. This, presumably, is one tool that can tell New York how Barrett's body handles the minutes he's playing early this season.