The New York Knicks are looking to build on their success from last season when they made the playoffs and won a series for the first time in 10 years.
They have a 9-7 record, but they’ve lost two of their last three games, including a 116-113 heartbreaker to the Phoenix Suns that included a game-winning 3-pointer by Devin Booker.
Josh Hart has said he feels like he’s being underutilized on offense, but head coach Tom Thibodeau refuted that claim, per Knicks Videos on Twitter.
Tom Thibodeau was asked about Josh Hart saying he felt left out on offense:
“His usage is up. He’s handling the ball more. The way he’s being used is not any different than last year…We talk all the time. Do what’s best for the team. Be mentally tough” pic.twitter.com/4cqWoeeRPW
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) November 28, 2023
Hart, a 6-foot-4 wing, arrived in New York midway through last season via a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, and he became a key role player for his new team.
He can hit from the outside, be a relief ball-handler, rebound the ball well, defend at a high level, and make hustle plays, which apparently makes him the type of role or complementary player every championship team needs.
But so far this season, Hart is shooting just 42.2 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from 3-point range, and the Knicks, who rank toward the bottom of the NBA in scoring, need more offense from him.
Perhaps the biggest issue for them this season is the play of Julius Randle, who has regressed after a strong performance last year.
He is shooting 38.7 percent overall and 27.4 percent from downtown, which has once again raised questions about his fit on the team.
The Knicks’ schedule will ease up a bit in the coming days, but starting in mid-December, they will have a stretch of eight games out of 10 on the road which will include games against the Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, and Oklahoma City Thunder.