Knicks coach David Fizdale on R.J. Barrett’s playing time: ‘We gotta get off this load management crap’

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

After playing 41 minutes in the Knicks’ loss to the Kings yesterday, R.J. Barrett is averaging more than 37 minutes per game. That’s the most by a rookie through seven games in six years.

Is New York overextending the 19-year-old?

Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic:

The biggest problem with this discussion: We measure workload by only what we see. Game minutes are just one aspect. How much and how hard is Barrett practicing? What is his lifestyle like? How much does he sleep? We have such a narrow scope of the toll Barrett puts on his body.

But it’s silly to cite Sprewell’s 2001-02 season. The game has become so much more intense. Players are more athletic than ever. They run fast, accelerate and decelerate rapidly and jump high. The old-school game has been romanticized and mythologized for a few hard fouls. And yes, the style had more contact. But the physical strain on players now is far greater. Minutes are more taxing than ever.

The Knicks ought to be careful about wearing down Barrett. Maybe they’re doing that. But Fizdale’s comments don’t inspire confidence.