David Fizdale defends RJ Barrett’s heavy minutes, calls load management ‘crap’
Tom Thibodeau may no longer be in the NBA, but his spirit lives on in New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale.
After the Knicks suffered a 113-92 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, Fizdale defended the heavy minutes he was giving to rookie star RJ Barrett.
“He’s got the day off tomorrow,” said Fizdale, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “We gotta get off this load management crap. Latrell Sprewell averaged 42 minutes for a season. This kid’s 19 years old. Drop it.”
Barrett, who is averaging 17.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game so far this season, played a whopping 41 minutes on Sunday, despite the game being a blowout from the first half onward. That brought his total on the year to 37.1 minutes per game, and he now leads the league in total minutes played.
While Barrett should indeed be getting significant playing time so that he can develop, there is a balance to be struck between that and not trotting him out unnecessarily in noncompetitive situations. All told, this is not the first time that Fizdale’s game management has come into question.