Smith reportedly asked to play in the G League due to receiving a lack of minutes, a wish that’s expected to be granted. The Knicks’ minor league affiliate team in Westchester is among 18 clubs attending the G League bubble this season, which is set to tip off on Feb. 10.
“I think the G League is a very valuable tool,” Thibodeau said. “I think you see it being used more and more by virtually every team in the league. It’s an opportunity, you can get obviously a lot out of practice, but I think playing time is important, also. So when we have those opportunities, we do want to utilize it. I think it will be great for him.”
Smith has only appeared in three games this season, logging a total of 28 minutes. The former No. 9 pick played 34 games with the team last season, averaging 5.5 points, 2.9 assists and 15.8 minutes per contest on 34% shooting.
Here are some other notes from the Atlantic Division:
- Thibodeau has a decision to make on the team’s starting point guard going forward, Popper examines in a different story for Newsday. New York must choose between veteran Elfrid Payton and rookie Immanuel Quickley, with Payton starting in the club’s first 20 games this season. Quickley has shown flashes of potential, however, averaging 11.6 points in 18.5 minutes per game off the bench. His current shooting marks sit at 39.5% from the floor and 38% from downtown.
- Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer examines how many All-Stars the Sixers should have this season. Joel Embiid, who’s currently enjoying a career-best season to date, is widely expected to be named to his fourth All-Star Game, but Pompey ponders whether Ben Simmons or Tobias Harris could make cases of their own.
- Brian Lewis of the New York Post examines the strong production Jeff Green has offered for the Nets. Green, a 13-year NBA veteran, has provided frontcourt depth as a starter and off the bench this season. The 34-year-old is averaging 8.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 25.2 minutes per game, shooting 55% from the field and 44% from three-point range. “He’s been outstanding,” head coach Steve Nash said as part of a larger quote. “He’s been great on the court, his versatility, his experience and his skill has been really important to us. [But] his maturity, his personality, his leadership, he’s really added a ton to our team in that respect.”