The New York Knicks announced Monday morning that the team has assigned Ignas Brazdeikis, Dennis Smith Jr., and Jared Harper to Westchester Knicks. All three will compete with the team in the G League bubble. Westchester’s season starts on February 10 against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
The assignment of Brazdeikis and Harper should come to no surprise. In January, Tom Thibodeau said he wanted to use their G League affiliate for guys who aren’t playing. (h/t Marc Berman of The New York Post). Brazdeikis has only played in four of the team’s 21 games, while playing in 1.8 minutes per game. Harper has seen the fewest minutes on the court and has accumulated 5.3 minutes in two games.
Dennis Smith Jr. made the decision to play in Westchester after falling out of the Knicks’ rotation, per Stefan Bondy of the Daily News. New York granted his request to play in the G League bubble. Thibodeau said Smith’s attitude has been positive and it’s a great opportunity for him to play in games.
“I think it’s great. His attitude has been very positive,” Thibodeau said, per Ian Begley of SNY. “He’s worked hard in practice. It’s a great tool. It’s an opportunity for him to play in games, which I think is very important, also. I’m glad he’s approached it that way. I know he’s looking forward to it. I think it’s good for him and it’s good for us.”
Players with three or less years of experience can be assigned to the NBAGL at any point, but those who have more than three years have to request to be assigned.
There are benefits of the three Knicks playing for Westchester: playing time and competition. The three Knicks will likely see 20-plus minutes and will have ample opportunity to develop their game. While the G League isn’t the NBA, you can't discount there are a lot of talented players in the G League bubble and the three will face tough competition at Walt Disney World in Florida.