Knicks mailbag: Don’t blame the losing on Tarrytown facility

Knicks mailbag: Don’t blame the losing on Tarrytown facility

You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Knicks.

Why can’t the Knicks build superior training facilities like the Nets if that is what it takes to attract top talents? — Jean

The Knicks’ practice headquarters in a corporate park in Tarrytown just underwent a major renovation last summer. Location, not the “superior’’ facilities of the Nets, is the drawback. The commute from Tarrytown to the Garden is 40 minutes without traffic, over an hour with. Kevin Durant claimed it was a factor in discounting the Knicks and signing with the Nets. Their facility overlooks New York Harbor in Brooklyn, where all the players live. Former Knicks coach David Fizdale told confidants he, too, thought the commute on game day was not ideal for his players, most of whom live in the White Plains area.

The new renovation, however, is glorious. Giant windows were installed around the practice courts, allowing natural light to pour in. The Knicks built a barber shop for players and brought in chefs from the Tao Group — which James Dolan owns — to cook more nutritional fare. The new lobby has a Garden-like ceiling. I don’t believe the Tarrytown commute caused seven straight losing seasons.

Knicks' Tarrytown training facility
Knicks’ Tarrytown training facility in 2019N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Why don’t the Knicks have RJ Barrett as the small forward? He isn’t guarding the 2 guards very well (see Bradley Beal games). I feel like he could guard the league small forwards much better. — Patrick Joseph Grondin

Bradley Beal torches every Knick, but in the team’s second-to-last game before the season was suspended, in Washington on March 10, Barrett and the whole starting five got pulled after four minutes when the Wizards ran off to an 18-4 lead. Barrett logged 30.4 minutes per game — a huge haul for a rookie — partly because the coaches trusted him on the defensive end. He has a high motor, unlike 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox.

The best thing about Barrett, too, is that versatility. Barrett can play all over the place — and maybe eventually can defend 1-through-4.

He’ll be fine offensively at shooting guard with a scoring point guard — the Knicks’ largest need. If the Knicks go smallball, Barrett can play small forward, too. Plus, Barrett can be a secondary ball handler if they wanted to play really big. There’s a lot of ways to use him, which helps make up for his poor perimeter shooting.

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