Tom Thibodeau on RJ Barrett's struggles: 'Gotta trust the process'


Tom Thibodeau played RJ Barrett a team-high 44 minutes in Friday’s overtime loss to the Blazers, despite Barrett shooting just 6-for-22 from the floor.

Quentin Grimes seemed like a clear upgrade on both ends of the floor, particularly in crunch time, but Thibodeau continued to put his trust in Barrett, whose shooting woes have been a central theme to New York’s season.

Knicks fans shouldn’t expect that usage to change, as Thibodeau told reporters after the loss that Barrett simply just needs to keep getting shots up and putting in the work in practice.

“Just keep working at it,” Thibodeau said. “Gotta trust the process of working your way through things. Get in the gym. Put in the extra work. It’s all you can do.”

Thibodeau has shown a willingness to bench struggling veterans (see Evan Fournier), but not as much with his established contributors from his first season as head coach, as Barrett and Julius Randle have both continued to see consistent playing time even when they have struggled, Randle specifically getting that favorable treatment during his brutal stretches of basketball last season.

So, it is likely Thibodeau will continue to allow Barrett the chance to shoot his way out of this funk, but a decrease in playing time would certainly seem warranted if Barrett’s efficiency doesn’t improve.

Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1

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