Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said he’s still trying to make a play-in push, but after playing rookie center Jericho Sims for 18 minutes in the 115-100 loss to the Heat on Friday night at the Garden, it looks like player development might be part of this after all.
Sims backed up at center over veterans Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson, who is one of Thibodeau’s all-time favorites. Sims didn’t score, didn’t take a shot and was a minus-6 with four rebounds.
“It’s hard to say right now,’’ Thibodeau said about sticking with Sims. “We’ll see how it unfolds. Taj did a good job for us. Nerlens did a good job for us. Jericho, the opportunities that he’s had, he’s played well. So just let him get in there; let him gain some more experience. He’s done a good job as well.’’
Thibodeau has always been about earning minutes, regardless of age, in giving the team the best chance to win.
Asked if management has asked him to play more young guys such as Sims, Thibodeau said, “I talk to Leon [Rose], Scott [Perry], Wes [Wesley], every day. We talk about all our players. We’re looking at the development of those guys. That’s important to us. So we’ll see how that unfolds. They have to play well when they’re in there. You can’t go out there and the team performs poorly.’’
Miami big man Bam Abedayo on RJ Barrett’s 46-point night: “His confidence. You could see it in the body language, you could see it in his face. He wants to be that guy. You could see he wants to take his team to another level.’’