With six seconds remaining in the first quarter, coach Tom Thibodeau put in the 22-year-old, and the Duke product was met with an ovation from the Garden faithful. In five minutes of play, Reddish scored just two points and grabbed two rebounds in the Knicks’ 110-102 win.
While Reddish’s debut may not have been what Knicks fans were hoping for, it was good to see the young guard out there getting to know his new teammates. Thibodeau acknowledged after the game that this acclimation period will be important for not just Reddish but for the team.
“[I’m] trying to establish a routine. When we were playing well we had a nine-man rotation,” Thibodeau said. “I like when I have opportunities to get [Reddish] in, I’ll get him in. It was good to just get his feet wet a little bit. He’s working really well in practice so just day-by-day.”
Prior to Sunday’s game, Thibodeau revealed Kemba Walker would be out due to a nagging knee injury. That, coupled with Reddish having recovered from an ankle injury, laid the path for his Knicks debut. And while Kemba is “likely” to play Monday against Cleveland, Thiobdeau wants Reddish to be ready.
“You never know in this league. You can have an injury or whatever and the next thing you know you’re in there and playing,” Thibodeau said. “I look at a guy like Quentin [Grimes]. He benefited from everyone being out. Got in there, played well and is still in there. So whoever gives us the best chance to win will be in there.”
One Knick who hopes to see Reddish on the court more is former Duke teammate RJ Barrett.
“[I’m] happy for him to see him out there. See my Duke brother out there doing his thing,” Barrett said with a smile when he was asked his thoughts on Reddish’s debut.
If Reddish is to see more playing time, he’ll need to take advantage of any minutes he sees. With Kemba’s injury history and Derrick Rose still out, there may be room for the team’s newest acquisition to show what he can do.