GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The well-being of the collective is always more important than the needs and wants of the individual.
This is how Tom Thibodeau summarized the decision to remove Cam Reddish — and likely Derrick Rose — from the Knicks’ playing rotation.
“What gives our team the best chance?” Thibodeau said after practice Tuesday at the MSG Training Facility. “We’re always going to put what we feel is best for the team first.”
Reddish was removed from the rotation before the Knicks’ 92-81 win over the Cavaliers Sunday after being held scoreless in nine minutes while committing three turnovers in Saturday’s 121-100 loss to the Mavericks at the Garden.
Thibodeau said the 23-year-old’s performance against Dallas was not the determining factor in the decision to bench the Duke product.
“It’s not just on Cam,” Thibodeau said of the 10th overall pick in the 2019 draft. “It’s on our team.”
The Knicks (11-13) acquired Reddish from Atlanta (13-11), whom they host Wednesday night, on Jan. 13 for Kevin Knox and a 2022 first-round pick. Reddish has played in 20 games this season, starting eight. He is averaging 8.4 points on 44.9% shooting in 21.9 minutes, along with 1.6 rebounds and one assist per game.
“It was a situation that we liked what it was about,” Thibodeau said. “And there's still time. That's all part of the league. You always look at all the possibilities of how you think you can improve your team . . . There were some real good things that he's done, so that's the way we approach it.”
The Knicks did not make Reddish available to speak.
It is not the first time this season that Thibodeau has dropped a player from the regular rotation. Shooting guards Evan Fournier and Quentin Grimes were dropped before the Knicks’ 118-111 win over the Jazz on Nov. 15 in Salt Lake City. Since then, Grimes has played in five games while Fournier has not played at all.
So for the foreseeable future, the Knicks will have a nine-man rotation. But Thibodeau stressed that the personnel decisions are not necessarily permanent.
“You settle on a nine-man rotation and then whether it’s injury, foul trouble or whatever it might be, a guy gets thrown in there and if they play well then they continue to play,” Thibodeau said. “It’s a long season. There’s a lot of things that happen. So just stay ready. We think practice is important. We think being a good teammate is important. Being into the game so you help in any way that you can.”
Which is Rose’s reality.
The veteran guard, now in his 15th NBA season, said Thibodeau told him he wanted to get a closer look at second-year guard Miles McBride. But, revealingly, Rose also noted he was not given clarity about his role on the team going forward.
“When you’re a pro you stay ready, or find a way to get ready,” Rose said. “ . . . [When] I was playing for Detroit it was kind of the same way where my minutes regressed and I had to figure it out. So it’s about being a pro.”