Ryan Barrett started the new season on fire, nailing his first nine shots from the floor, including all three of his attempts, in the early loss of the Nix in Indiana.
Tom Thibodeau’s team will return to that position on Saturday night, and Barrett will be able to rediscover the shooting touch after being dramatically immersed in his next four-plus games.
The second-year defender was barely the only wrong-doer to lose to Toronto in Thursday’s 100-83 in Tampa. The Knicks got off to a bad 3-for-36 off the long range against the Raptors, with the NBA scoring 23 runs without scoring a starting five.
Barrett, the overall pick in the 2019 draft coming out of Duke, is tied with just 26.3 percent (19-for-72) since the start of his sizzling on December 23 against the Pacers. He also has 21 consecutive attempts ahead of the three-point arc.
In fact, the beginnings of Barrett (0-for-8) and minor forward Reggie Bullock (0-for-9) became the first teammates in NBA history, worse than the 0-for-8 in each game or the three-point range in the same game. .
Barrett was not made available to the media after Thursday’s game, and the Knicks (2-3-) could not practice or make available to anyone on New Year’s Day before Saturday’s visit to Indiana.
Thibodeau pushed earlier in the week that Barrett had been “terrible” and that “back-to-back wins against Milwaukee and Cleveland have been a terrible game”. Despite his poor shooting numbers, the 20-year-old Barrett averages 15.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists in five games.
“He played well without shooting well. We know the shooting is coming, “Thibodeau said Wednesday. “He’s doing a lot of things for us defensively, moving well without the ball. It’s coming downhill.
“It simply came to our notice then. He has been diligent with his work. Despite having a wing to do things he can only do, his versatility is a great asset to the team and a willingness to do plays for people. ”
Thibode said after Thursday’s loss that he wanted to review the game’s film before commenting directly on Barrett and the team’s poor shooting game, especially when the Knicks came out on top in the league with a 3-point percentage (45.9%).
“I think you’ll get a lot of open appearances when the teams play the zone, but we’ll take a look at that,” Thibodeau said. “It’s the right game. For me, it’s like if you get the right play, if you get movement, if you push the defense to fall, you kick it out, and if your shooter is an open one, I do all this.
“So if a guy is wide, there’s no one within five feet, you have to shoot him.”
Despite his team firing blankly, Thibodeau noted that the Knicks had a seven-point lead in the third quarter on Thursday – and they were within three with less than nine minutes left in the fourth due to their defensive commitment. The Knicks are allowed 105.2 points per game, ranking fifth in the NBA.
“You always think you can do better. [Toronto] Don’t shoot a great percentage. You catch a team like 100 points, you have to have a shot to win it, “Thibodeau said.” If we had made some of our three, maybe we would have had a better chance of winning it.
“Our defense is something we have to keep going – ball control, ball pressure. We are not perfect. I think if we make an effort, we will fly around, put pressure on the ball and know our weak side, we will be able to cover [our] Mistakes. ”