David Fizdale has head-scratching reason for sitting RJ Barrett on final play
The New York Knicks lost a nail-biter to the Charlotte Hornets this weekend, and coach David Fizdale once again came under fire for a tactical decision.
On the final possession of a one-point game, Fizdale chose to sit star rookie RJ Barrett and insert sharpshooter Wayne Ellington, who had not played for the entire game. The Knicks wound up letting Julius Randle take a long contested fadeaway, which he missed.
Julius Randle misses the fadeaway at the buzzer and the Knicks lose 103-102 to the Hornets pic.twitter.com/J94Tc3vAOs
— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) November 17, 2019
On Monday, Fizdale gave a strange reason to reporters for why he sat Barrett.
“[Ellington was in] just as a distraction, to try to open up floor for Julius to have a driving lane,” he said, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Trust me, more nights than not RJ Barrett will be in the game at crunch time.”
It does seem rather strange to sit one of your best offensive players in a one-point situation for the purposes of trying to better distract an opponent. It is especially so considering that Barrett had already scored 22 points in the game and is arguably a better, more efficient driver than Randle.
Granted, Fizdale definitely seems to be on the hot seat right now, and he is not doing much to help his cause with baffling decisions like this.