However, according to Knicks insider Ian Begley, the way the organization has handled Walker’s benching and eventual return to the starting lineup has reportedly left some Knicks players thinking “about the inconsistency in the decision making” from the top brass.
Some players with the Knicks felt that Kemba Walker's benching "revealed a little bit of inconsistency" in the decision-making process of the team because the same standards weren't applied to the rest of the roster.
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) December 25, 2021
“What does this mean big picture for Walker and the Knicks?” asked Begley. “I’m not sure. But I would assume that Walker would maintain that starting point guard role, or at least his position in the rotation with Derrick Rose out. In the aftermath of that initial decision by the coaching staff to remove Kemba Walker from the rotation, some players felt that it revealed a little bit about the inconsistency in the decision-making. Because they felt that the same standards weren’t being applied across the board to every player on the roster.
“Now, players are going to disagree with coaches’ decisions all the time, that’s just life in the NBA. I’m not sure how much that means for the Knicks in the big picture. But the bottom line is they got the win that they needed against Atlanta on Christmas Day, and we’ll see if they can get things going in the right direction from here.”
A few weeks ago, the Knicks’ coaching staff removed Walker not just from the starting lineup but from the rotation altogether. But with several players going down due to injury, the team had to play Walker again.
In response, the former All-Star has had his best stretch of the season. He scored 29 points in his first contest back, and two games after, he posted a season-high 44 points.
Against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, Walker recorded a triple-double.
Only time will tell if Walker will retain his spot or be benched again as the season moves along.