As the Knicks prepare for the final preseason test of this abbreviated training camp Tom Thibodeau hinted that he likely won’t get a chance to see some of the marginal roster pieces in action.
With Frank Ntilikina, Austin Rivers, Nerlens Noel, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Alec Burks all expected to sit out Friday night against the Cavaliers there is an opening for some of the young players hoping to crack the roster or rotation to show what they can do. But just as he has done in the prior three games, Thibodeau sounded unlikely to call on the likes of Myles Powell, Iggy Brazdeikis or Jared Harper.
"That’s the challenge of it all," Thibodeau said. "We were talking about it this morning in our coach’s meeting. You’d like from that standpoint to have eight preseason games so you can get a look at everyone. But a short preseason, playing four games, you’re concentrating, particularly for us, a new coaching staff and a lot of new players, you’re trying to get set on your rotation. That’s made it difficult. [Wednesday night] we got to look at Omari [Spellman]. We look at other guys in practice. We’re getting to know them better and they’re getting to know us. That’s an important part of the evaluation. They’re young and there's room for growth with those guys."
Thibodeau said that the decision to sit Ntilikina (sore left Achilles) and Noel (sore left knee) stems from an abundance of caution.
"The way we went into camp, we approached it with the understanding like, with the layoff, all the different factors that were involved, if there were strains or pulls, anything like that, we were going to take every precaution," he said. "But it would also give us the opportunity to evaluate other players. That’s the way we’re approaching it. I think most teams you’re seeing approach it that way.
"With having guys out … the rest of the roster, it gives you an opportunity to evaluate them and look at different combinations. I think that’s how we ended up getting to the combination that finished the game. I think it was good, good information for us. Obviously, a regular season game would be a lot different than that. We have to continue to study and learn."