5 Questions: Knicks vs. Suns:
Who will finally win their first Summer League game?
The Knicks & Raptors are both searching for their first summer league win. The Raptors lost last night against Lonnie Walker and the San Antonio Spurs. The Raptors’ lone standout player on the roster is Chris Boucher. Boucher coincidentally won a ring in his first two seasons with the Warriors & Raptors respectively. While the chances of a Summer League championship are slim, he will look to capitalize off a 24 points, 12 rebounds effort against the Spurs. The Knicks lost the first two games after blowing significant leads against the New Orleans Pelicans & Phoenix Suns. The Knicks look to finally preserve a lead.
Will this be the end of Summer League for our Knick sophomores?
So far, Kadeem Allen, Allonzo Trier, Kevin Knox, & Mitchell Robinson had solid starts so far in Summer League. With the exception of Trier, who missed the previous game due to an “illness,” all of the players received significant rotation minutes. With Summer League eventually coming to an end, it’s imperative for the Knicks to evaluate some of their other invites. This includes players such as VJ King, Billy Preston, Zak Irvin, Amir Hinton, and Lamar Peters amongst other players who either played sparingly or not at all.
Will the Iggy-Woooten-Cavanaugh show go on?
Ignas “Iggy” Brazdeikis put on a spectacle against the Suns with a team-high 30 points on 11-19 from the field, 3-6 from three, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists. His energy excited the crowd and his physicality allowed him to get plenty of opportunities to score. Kenny Wooten brought an increased level of hustle and defensive energy on the floor. Even when Mitch sat, the Suns had to be reminded that Wooten is a beast at the chase down blocks. His defensive energy was contagious. Tyler Cavanaugh had another solid effort with 12 points off the bench and led the team with 8 free throws attempted.
Can we get RJ Barrett going?
RJ’s effort is present, but the shots are just not falling right now. He’s simply pressing out there. The shots are not falling and a lot of his passes are missing the zip that we saw at Duke as evident by the 8 turnovers. RJ should be able to receive some nice words of wisdom from his parents who were in attendance in the game against the Suns. Additionally, RJ should also remember Trae Young’s performance last season as inspiration to trust his work and improve.
Can anyone play defense, pass the ball, or not turn the ball over?
Yes, it’s only summer league, but the Knicks should not have 21 turnovers on 15 assists. Yes, RJ & Iggy combined for 13 of the 21 turnovers, but it’s not a good look. The lack of assists mirrored the season-long issue with the Knicks. Kadeem Allen led the team with 6, but there just wasn’t enough passing. Perhaps utilizing some Spain P&R would certainly help. Furthermore, the Knicks lost a good chunk of the lead in the 2nd half once the Suns capitalized on the Knicks’ piss poor footwork in the P&R defense. Fixing the gaping holes in P&R will be tough during Summer League, but it should be a point of emphasis on Coach Fizdale’s staff.