The New York Knicks experienced a dose of reality on Tuesday evening, being blown out by the San Antonio Spurs 119–93. The Knicks had high hopes after taking down the Indiana Pacers two games before and the Detroit Pistons in their last victory. However, they found out shortly before the start of the game that Derrick Rose would be unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols.
With Rose out and Elfrid Payton still nursing an injury, the Knicks had to make a decision on who would start at PG. Ultimately, they elected to utilize Frank Ntilikina instead of Immanuel Quickley or Austin Rivers.
Rivers has been buried on the depth chart, not even scratching the surface against San Antonio, even as the game got out of reach. It seems as if Tom Thibodeau has put him in his doghouse, which means his future is undeniably uncertain.
Rivers wasn’t too optimistic regarding his future with the Knicks earlier this week: “I can’t control if I’m traded today, tomorrow or the next day. What I can control is how I am as a player.’’
The New York Knicks should consider dealing Rivers:
It is an unfortunate reality for Rivers, who signed a three-year deal with the Knicks this past off-season. His inefficiency scoring and inconsistencies with the ball in his hands quickly demoralized him and gave Thibodeau a reason to bench him in favor of younger options. At this point, Rivers might be a better trade candidate than an actual contributor moving forward.
Following the defeat, Thibodeau had stern words for his team, and this should serve as a wake-up call that better teams will not take it easy on this rising squad.
“You get what you deserve,’’ Tom Thibodeau said.
Thibs tried his best to keep the team together and progressive in the loss, but ultimately the size differential for the 2nd unit was too much to handle.
“I was trying to keep the second unit together as much as I could,’’ Thibodeau said. “And the size of their point guard [DeJounte Murray] also factored into it.’’
Power forward Julius Randle, who is considered the Knicks’ best player and scorer, coughed this came up as an anomaly.
Randle finished the game with just 14 points, well below his season average of 23.1. San Antonio did a good job of locking him down and minimizing his impact, which made it extremely difficult for New York to produce offensively.
“Probably the first game we had like this honestly,’’ Randle said. “Throw it in the trash and get back to work.’’