In preparation for Tuesday's clash with the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has opted to take Kemba Walker out of the rotation.
"It's a tough decision to make, but you always have to do what you think is best for the team," Thibodeau said Monday, via ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "I view Kemba as a starter, and so it'd be tough to play three small guards together. I gave it consideration and I've got great respect for who Kemba is as a person and all he's accomplished in this league.
"But I have to do what I think is best for the team."
Walker, 31, is averaging career-low numbers for New York this season despite starting on a hot streak, posting 11.7 points, 3.1 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 9.8 field goal attempts per game. With the Knicks still trying to find a winning recipe in their starting lineup, benching the four-time All-Star appears to the a necessary, although difficult, decision to make.
With Walker out, Thibodeau will start Alec Burks in the rotation.
"When you have that type of size it allows you to do more switching (on defense)," Thibodeau said of 6-foot-6 Burks, via the New York Daily News. "And I think it does help, it helps with the rebounding, it helps with control of the ball, it’s harder to make passes to the opposite corner and that sort of thing. How we finish our defense is important, the rebounding piece of it, the closing out piece of it. I did like the size."
The Knicks currently sit in seventh place at 11-9, three games back from the East-leading Nets.