NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 26: Dennis Smith Jr. #5 of the New York Knicks looks on during their game against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden on October 26, 2019 in New York City.
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Dennis Smith Jr. is expected to miss games against the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics during the New York Knicks’ mini-road trip.

The New York Knicks are dealing with a shortened bench at the moment. Dennis Smith Jr. is still away from the team after losing his stepmother and he will miss the team’s next two games.

Unfortunately, Smith is not the only Knick dealing with a sudden loss in the family. Free-agent signing Reggie Bullock‘s sister was shot and killed in Baltimore on Monday.

“Our Knicks family is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Reggie Bullock and Dennis Smith Jr’s close family members,” team president Steve Mills said in a statement released by the team. “At times like this, we are reminded that life is bigger than basketball. Our thoughts are with them and their families.”

Point Guard Rotation

While Smith is away from the team and Elfrid Payton nurses a right hamstring strain, Frank Ntilikina and RJ Barrett will share point guard duties.

It’s not exactly clear how head coach David Fizdale will deploy his two primary ballhandlers. The coach usually likes to wait to announce his starting lineup until the last possible moment.

Ntilikina could start alongside Barrett, but Fiz would have to work to stagger their minutes so the Knicks always have at least one primary ballhandler on the floor. Another option would be to start Wayne Ellington at the two with Barrett sliding to point guard.

It’s unlikely that Fizdale goes back to a starting backcourt of Barrett and Allonzo Trier after that duo struggled in the season opener in San Antonio.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.