Basketball

Knicks Rotation: Cam Reddish Needs to Play

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In the Knicks’ home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, coach Tom Thibodeau debuted a new-look, nine-man rotation that excluded Derrick Rose and Cam Reddish. While originally it looked like Rose was just getting the day off on a back-to-back, it was later reported that the Knicks will be sticking with that rotation for the time being.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Reddish was starting for the Knicks. Since then, he’s suffered an injury, been replaced by Quentin Grimes, and struggled to adjust to a reduced bench role. While it’s pretty clear that Quentin Grimes is a much better fit with the starting five as a tenacious on-ball defender and great three-point shooter, Reddish should retain his spot in the rotation.

Reddish with the Bench

In the few games that Reddish was healthy and coming off the bench, he was entering the game for Quentin Grimes toward the end of the first and third quarters and playing a quick seven-to-eight-minute shift. Admittedly, the Knicks have been better when running a nine-man rotation, but that’s not the fault of Reddish. Nor is it impossible to replicate that success with Reddish in the rotation.

The Knicks’ success with a nine-man rotation seems to be more of a byproduct of the staggering of RJ Barrett than taking Reddish out of the rotation. Over the past three years, Barrett has been able to do damage with the bench unit of Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin. It’s pretty obvious why too. Barrett thrives in the fast-paced style that Quickley and Toppin like to play.

Thibodeau has shown a reluctance to stagger his star’s minutes while running a 10-man rotation, instead opting to run hockey-like full group substitutions. Recently, however, the Knicks have been giving Barrett and Jalen Brunson some run with the bench unit, which has lead to some pretty great results. The new bench shifts will consist of a lineup of Miles McBride, Quickley, Barrett, Toppin, and Isaiah Hartenstein. Systematically, Reddish would be a better fit for this group than McBride.

Although he hasn’t found his shot in New York, Reddish brings more as a three-point shooter and as a slasher. Alongside ball dominant players like Quickley and Barrett, Reddish is a perfect fit on the offensive end. Defensively, a backcourt consisting of Reddish and Quickley would be lethal for opposing guards.

How Should the Knicks Use Cam Reddish?

Similarly to Quentin Grimes, Cam Reddish serves as a perfect fit with RJ Barrett and Jalen Brunson. If the Knicks continue to stagger Brunson and Barrett’s minutes by taking them out at the around the 6-minute mark in the 1st and 3rd quarters, Reddish could play a shift at the beginning of the 2nd quarter while Grimes is resting.

It doesn’t even need to be the 22 minutes per game that he’s averaging right now, but Cam Reddish needs to see the court every night. The Knicks have about twelve guys that are worthy of rotational minutes, but Reddish shouldn’t be one of the odd men out. He’s just 23 and has shown real signs of improvement so far this season in New York. There’s no reason that the Knicks can’t find 10-15 minutes per game for the former top-10 pick.

main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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James Valentinas is a 17-year-old Cubs, Knicks, and Bears fan who loves to write about his favorite teams.