New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale says he’s comfortable with the idea of playing RJ Barrett at point guard this season.
The NBA is transitioning towards a different type of game. New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale has talked about “positionless” basketball at length. RJ Barrett may be exactly the type of player he’s looking for.
Traditionally labeled as a shooting guard, Barrett can also play some small forward. And now Fizdale is even talking about using him as a point guard.
“I’ve thrown him at that position a couple of times already,” Fizdale said via Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “He played some of that in college. I think it adds another layer to how dynamic he can be.”
Barrett is confident he can play point guard effectively and Fizdale is happy with what he’s seen from him so far.
“He’s really poised. He looks really comfortable. The kid likes having the ball in his hands. And he’s unselfish — he finds people,” Fizdale said. “He knows our plays from that position. So I feel very comfortable if I have to throw him out there.”
Pushing Barrett out of his comfort zone a little bit will only help the rookie grow. He’s averaging 37.5 minutes per game in two preseason games so far.
The Knicks already have an intriguing point guard battle underway. Dennis Smith Jr., Elfrid Payton, and Frank Ntilikina are all vying for time at the position. Barrett would figure to cut into the playing time of those three, although that may not be the case.
Fizdale could opt to play Barrett alongside the defensive-minded Ntilikina with the two sharing ballhandling responsibilities. Ntilikina isn’t exactly a natural point guard, but he could fit well alongside a strong playmaker like Barrett.
Additionally, Fizdale has alluded to using Julius Randle in a playmaking role as a “point forward.” One thing is for sure, Fizdale is going to be mixing and matching with his lineups and rotations this season.