Updated: Feb 29
Last night, Head Coach Mike Miller took a hard left turn and gave DSJ some actually playing time.
Leapfrogging Frank Ntilikina, Smith was gifted with some first quarter playing time and a grand total of 15 minutes for the game.
Was this a sign that The Knicks want to give him some run so that his trade value does not diminish and they show teams that he can still play? Was this due to the Home and Away back to back games being played to conserve Frank's legs (Knicks take on the Grizzlies tonight)? Was this because DSJ was born and raised in North Carolina and Miller wanted him to get some minutes in his hometown or was this just one of those enigmatic moves the Knicks are so accustomed to making (see also: Knicks signing 900 Power Forwards this off season).
The short answer is, I have no idea. What I do know is that the Trade Deadline is close enough to start making some interesting rotation moves. Smith didn't play terribly, he had some nice bursts of speed, pushing the tempo and posting a 7p/3r/2a statline. I don't hate it but he definitely needs to look to score more when he is on the floor.
Another thought behind all of this, just as some food for thought. Wayne, Elf and Reggie Bullock are not on guaranteed deals for next year. This could have also been a "tryout" in a sense for the Knicks to decide if they want to keep him and finish off his rookie deal or if they are going to go in a completely different direction and let ALL the Guards walk in Free Agency as well as trade Smith and let Frank back up the rookie they draft this summer.
I am definitely expecting all the Guards to all see some increased time in the next week+ so the Knicks can figure out the direction of the team at the and in the aftermath of the trade deadline.
There is going to be a lot of head scratching decisions upcoming. This should be fun.
Also, Knicks/Grizz 7:30pm EST tonight