'Boomer And Gio': Starting Barrett At Point Guard Made No Sense

Boomer and Gio
October 24, 2019 - 10:45 am

What was Knicks coach David Fizdale thinking by starting RJ Barrett at point guard in the season opener Wednesday?

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It was a shocking move, as practically everyone believed Dennis Smith Jr., Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina had been competing for the job. 

With Barrett, a rookie playing in his first NBA game, at the point, the Knicks fell behind 13-4 early and lost 120-11. 

The third overall pick in June's draft, Barrett had seen limited time at the demanding point guard position in the preseason.

WFAN's Gregg Giannotti seemed to think his co-host, Boomer Esiason, was joking Thursday morning when he said, "It's time to fire David Fizdale." But Esiason said he was serious.  

"This has got to be, like, one of the dumbest all-time things I've ever seen. Honestly," Boomer said. "You have a star rookie, and your star rookie is really — you want to put him at a small forward, you want to put him at a shooting guard, I get it. You're going to open your season on the road at the Spurs, and you're going to tell the kid you're playing point guard for our team.

"I'm sitting here watching this and I'm like, when did this happen? When did this idea come to him (Fizdale) and say, 'This is what I'm going to do because I'm going to be the next Red Auerbach or I'm going to be the next Red Holzman or I'm going to be the next (Gregg) Popovich. I mean, what the hell was that?"

Knicks forward RJ Barrett drives in against Spurs guard Derrick White on Oct. 23, 2019, in San Antonio.
Daniel Dunn/USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks climbed back into the game and actually led by seven points at one time, which in hindsight only magnified their first-quarter struggles. 

"That's what's annoying about it is you feel like they might've had a shot to win the game if he had figured out that Elfrid Payton was the best point guard for this team to start out the season," Giannotti said. 

All in all, Barrett's debut was solid. He scored 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting and had five rebounds and two assists. 

Point guard is just not the spot for him, Boomer and Gio said.

"Now sometimes when decisions happen in sports that I completely disagree with, I try to — I try to — see the other side," Giannotti said. "Like, what is David Fizdale thinking here? Am I missing something? With this one, I cannot (think of anything)."

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