The Westchester Knicks wrapped up their five-game homestand following a 91-72 win over the Windy City Bulls. The Knicks went 4-1 during that stretch and improved to 9-3 on the season. There were several players that stood out during the team's recent homestand, which include the impressive play of Billy Garrett and New Orleans Pelicans’ assignment players, Trevon Bluiett and Kenrich Williams.
Productive Play From Billy Garrett
In the past five games, different players have stepped up for the Westchester Knicks. John Jenkins performed well for a few games before he went to compete with the USA Men’s Qualifying Team and Luke Kornet remained productive during the home stretch.
Billy Garrett looked solid in several games during the homestand. He was making plays, scoring the ball, and had several efficient shooting games. The second-year guard looked comfortable out on the floor and was playing to his own speed. He showed bursts of speed getting to the rim and showed patience at the basket.
“I think he’s done really well,” head coach Mike Miller said Westchester’s 91-72 win over the Windy City Bulls. “We’re playing him at different positions and that’s what we’re able to do last year and I think he’s settled in. I think maybe it just took a couple of games for him to really get into a grove and he’s been able to go with it. He played most of the third quarter and he got hot at the end and really carried us. So I said, ‘he’s played the whole quarter I need to take him out, but he’s playing so well I don’t really want to.’ If we can build a little bit of a lead, we need to leave him in.”
In the team’s first game agains the Wisconsin Herd, Garrett missed a three-point shot. He hustled back on defense to force a turnover then Kadeem Allen found Paul Watson who hit an uncontested three.
Finding An Identity
Within the span of two weeks, G League teams go through training camp then finalize their roster for the regular season. The Westchester Knicks had seven returning players and that doesn't include Luke Kornet, who has spent 10 games on assignment from New York.
Through the first first 12 games, Westchester is starting to form their identity. The Knicks are one of the top defensive teams in the G League, which shows why the team is off to a 9-3 start. Westchester head coach Mike Miller stated the team can't count on one guy to go out and score, while different players have shown they can step up and have great games.
“I think we’re working towards it,” Miller said. “We’ve talked about we have to be a high-level defensive team that’s really connected and then we’re an execution team on the offensive end. We can’t count on one guy to go out and lead that thing, so it’s been different people. Earlier in the week, Billy (Garrett) didn’t have the numbers. The last two games, he’s had big numbers. Luke (Kornet) had the big game the other night. It kind of moves through there. We’ve had, like all teams in the league, some movement with our roster. That’s typical, so it makes it tough for guys to play consistently, but I think that’s what we’ve done.”
During the homestand, there has been a player that has shined in each game. Along with that, Kadeem Allen has showcased his defensive tenacity and playmaking. Devon Baulkman’s energy on the defensive end has been valuable for the team. In the team’s first game against Wisconsin, Baulkman didn’t get caught in a Cinmeon Bowers screen and stayed composed then blocked Vander Blue’s shot.
Flying High From New Orleans
Two-way player Trevon Bluiett has been with the Westchester Knicks since the start of the season. After missing the first five games of the season due to a lower back injury, Bluiett has played well and shown he can shoot the ball well. He shot 7-of-10 from deep through two games. Also, he’s shown he can impact the game when he’s not scoring. In a game against the Wisconsin Herd, Bluiett drove to the basket then dished a behind the back pass to Luke Kornet who finished with the two-hand slam.
“We’ve had Trevon (Bluiett) since training camp then he got hurt right after when we played our first scrimmage game,” Miller said. “After like almost a week of practice then he had a minor little issue, but it was enough that it kept him out for a couple of weeks. It’s tough early in the year. The other guys go through and play their way into a better level of condition and get experience and he didn’t get that. He’s done a good job. He’s obviously been a good addition. He’s a guy that we were counting on having this year, so he was in our plans and he’s been bringing things to the team.”
Bluiett’s teammate from the New Orleans Pelicans, Kenrich Williams, joined him in Westchester on flex assignment. Williams was only with the team for their back-to-back against Wisconsin, but made an impact with the team. Williams uses his energy on the defensive end to make blocks like he did on Robert Johnson and creating second chance opportunities. The rookie forward became the second Dub Knick, behind Cleanthony Early, to record a double-double in his first two Westchester games.