The Knicks have been searching for a point guard for about 30 years, but the void at the premium position has been felt strongly in the past month.
Without Derrick Rose, who on Dec. 22 had right ankle surgery that should sideline him another four weeks, an area that already was spotty has become a glaring hole.
Kemba Walker emerged from obscurity in the early days without Rose, but a left knee injury kept him away from the court for about three weeks, until his return Tuesday.
The point guards who were supposed to complement the veteran duo have picked a poor time to struggle.
In the past week, a stretch that has included three straight Knicks losses, Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley have gone missing. Since a Jan. 12 win over the Mavericks, the fill-in point guards have combined to shoot 22-for-77 (30.6 percent) from the field, have been even shakier from 3-point range and have represented a major reason for the team’s skid.
Burks, in particular, has been dreadful, shooting 31 percent from the field this month. December, when he drilled 38 percent of his attempts, had been his worst month of the season. In the Knicks’ loss Thursday against the Pelicans, the veteran Burks — who might become trade bait if they keep sinking — went 3-for-9, which was three more shots than he had hit against the Timberwolves on Tuesday. Quickley, who continues to test his range despite drilling just 34.3 percent of his deep shots, went 4-for-13.
The two often helped lead the Knicks’ second unit, which was far better than their first, but many more shots will have to fall if the Knicks can compensate for Rose’s absence.
“[New Orleans] made a lot of shots, and we didn’t,” RJ Barrett said after the loss to the Pelicans, in which the Knicks shot 9-for-38 (23.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Knicks were off Friday and will return to practice Saturday.
The NBA announced its list of the 15 most popular jerseys, according to its sales statistics.
Barrett was the lone Knicks representative, his jersey the 14th-best seller. LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and Luka Doncic comprised the top five.
Wednesday’s Knicks-Heat game was added to the national ESPN schedule in place of Grizzlies-Spurs. The game still will tip at 7:30.