Knicks continues to look to the point guard for answers

LOS ANGELES – Since Kemba Walker submitted his retirement for the season During the All-Star break, Alec Burks was reappointed as the Knicks’ starting point guard despite playing out of position.

It became a controversial move, with the fan base keen to see more of Rookie Miles McBride directs the show. Or even Immanuel Quickley, the backup point guard.

The Knicks have been down 4-0 since a heartbreaking loss in Phoenix on Friday. Burks, a natural swingman, wasn’t really the playmaker the offense could use.

Burks even suffered a disappointment at one of his strengths, free throw shooting, when he missed one of two free throws with 5.9 seconds left to set up Cam Johnson’s game-winning 3. But he scored 15 points with six assists.

“We missed one,” said Burks, who rarely speaks to the media. “We’ve done a lot of great things. I’ve done a lot more than I missed. On to the next one.”

Miles McBride, Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley
Miles McBride, Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley
Getty Images (3)

Burks, whom the Knicks entertained with the Lakers at the close to make room for the cap, shrugs off the new role.

In late November, when he was officially demoting Walker, coach Tom Thibodeau also approached Burks as a starting point guard because he wanted more height. The Knicks had a mediocre 2-7 record in those nine games.

“I think the way our offensive is going, every point can play,” said Burks. “We have positionless games. I just have to do that now.”

with Derrick Rose is still on the shelf after yet another ankle surgery, Point Guard was a nemesis. Thibodeau said of his situation as a point guard after the loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday: “It’s the best we got.”

On Sunday against the Clippers (34-31), the Knicks face another 2021 free agent point guard they could have brought — Reggie Jackson — who is having a good year on a new two-year, $21 million contract.

The tumbling Knicks are now 13 games under .500 with 19 to play after finishing 41-31 last season.

“Every season is different,” Burks said. “As long as you get better every day, wins and losses stay where they are. That’s how I see it.”

In fairness, Thibodeau turned to McBride for eight minutes of spot duty in Phoenix. But “Deuce” was off the ball with Quickley and as a result had no impact on offense, rarely getting touched and making no attempted shots.

“We did a lot of great things to win the game — we just didn’t do enough,” Burks said.

Thibodeau served a few years at Team USA with retired Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who coached his final home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday. Thibodeau marveled at his lead – something the Knicks coach must now swear to.

“It was an honor and a privilege to be part of his team,” said Thibodeau. “Just to see how he communicated, how he motivated. His leadership. I would say leadership is the key.

“Just special, special. He obviously had great intelligence, great road sense, just great leader.” If you combine [West Point] where he’s from – Chicago, his history, his parents. There is something very special about making it where he did. He has incredible humility for a guy who has achieved so much. Knicks continues to look to the point guard for answers


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