Is it time for the Knicks to bring Kemba Walker back from exile?

The New York Knicks face an uphill battle after three consecutive losses, including a Sunday afternoon blowout against the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite rookie guard Quentin Grimes having the best game of his career, posting 27 points, New York simply couldn’t maintain pace with a Bucks team consisting of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.

However, with inconsistencies and injuries plaguing the team at the moment, head coach Tom Thibodeau may think his strategy, especially within the starting five. They have lost six of their last seven games, and ever since relegating free-agent acquisition Kemba Walker to the bench, the entire team has been in disarray. Moving Alec Burks to a starting spot has disrupted the chemistry with the second team, a unit that had been floating the starters for the majority of the still-young season.

The Knicks were still inconsistent before Walker was benched after a 17-point performance against the Phoenix Suns on November 26, shooting 50% from three-point range. Despite his scoring efficiency, the Knicks had won three of their last six games and heading in a difficult direction. However, since New York decided to sit a player they are paying $8 million per season over two years for, they have won just two out of eight contests.

Some negative voices are beginning to creep in, as one NBA agent claimed the decision to bench Walker was a “catastrophe.”

“When you think about the hype, it’s a catastrophe,’’ one NBA agent said about the Knicks’ benching of Walker, according to the NY Post.

Walker had been averaging 11.7 points, 3.1 assists, and 43% shooting from the field over 24.5 minutes per game. It wasn’t necessarily his offensive production that found him on the bench, it was his inept defense, which severely limited the Knicks. Prior to Walker’s exile, the Knicks had the worst defensive rating in basketball when he was on the floor per 100 possessions, compared to a top-five unit when he was off.

While the analytics point toward Walker being a liability, the Knicks have only gotten worse in the meantime. It seems as if disrupting the second team and taking Burks out of rotation has done more harm than good, especially after an 0 for 7 performance against the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

The question is, is it time for Thibodeau to consider reinstating Kemba back to his normal role, or should he stay the course and skirt around embarrassment after a failed attempt at resurrecting his team?

It is clear they lack a true leader, as Julius Randle is more of an introvert, but is being paid to be an outspoken captain. Nonetheless, Walker could’ve been that guy if given the chance, but it may be too late for Thibodeau to turn the tables with the trade deadline coming up in a few months.

[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”p2gdyjerb8″ question=”What do you think?” opened=”0″]Do you think the Knicks should give Kemba Walker another chance? Comment here![/wpdiscuz-feedback]
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