Deep Dive on the Knicks’ RJ Barrett, together with a scout taking the second-year professionals

Shut-up shot of RJ Barrett in a white shirt

Blink again to the NBA Draft Lottery 2019. They Knicks had a 14 p.c probability of touchdown the highest spot, tied for finest odds with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns. However the high two picks ended up going to the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies, respectively.

And in a draft that appeared prefer it had two potential superstars on the high Zion Williamson and Sure Morant, it appeared just like the Knicks had simply did not land a star.

The Knicks then took RJ Barrett with the third election. After a 12 months at Duke, Barrett was the consensus third finest participant within the draft, although he didn’t pack Williamson or Morant’s star energy.

Even with a shortened rookie season, Barrett is now about a whole 82-game season into his professional profession, so let’s take a deeper have a look at the capturing guard’s begin within the NBA …

What Barrett has carried out properly

The one factor you have at all times been capable of level out about Barrett is his maturity, and whereas it could not essentially be a transfer that can wow followers, it is clearly essential. Simply have a look at all of the earlier NBA lotteries that flared up as a result of they weren’t able to be professionals.

Along with his NBA debut as a 19-year-old after a single season at Duke, Barrett’s stage of maturity goes far past his years. Barrett was positioned instantly within the beginning lineup for the Knicks, and whereas the group had many transferring elements round them, together with a change of head coach from David Fizdale to short-term head coach Mike Miller, Barrett was a continuing pressure as a rookie. He averaged 14.3 factors, 5.0 rebounds and a pair of.6 assists, but he was harmless of all All-Rookie groups.

However he appeared prepared for all that was thrown in his means, and that has helped him transfer on to a powerful second 12 months. Below the management of a brand new head coach Tom Thibodeau, Barrett has taken a giant step ahead in his second season and has raised his numbers throughout the board to 17.4 factors, 6.9 rebounds and three.4 assists.

However much more than simply his pure numbers, Barrett seems extra assured in virtually each means. His leaping remains to be not precisely the place it must be (we’ll get again to that later), however he appears far more prepared to step up and take photographs in rhythm this season, which is large for his improvement.

Thibodeau has known as Julius Randle The “engine” of this Knicks group, as a result of a lot of the crime has been run by the large man, however Barrett has been simply as essential. Like Randle, Barrett can do some of every part. He defends properly, he’s not afraid to come back again, he drives to the basket and involves the road. And he additionally will get his teammates with him.

Total, it’s tough to ask for far more from a 20-year-old, second-year skilled.

Room for enchancment

One space the place Barrett must get higher is his capturing effectivity. Whereas he has carried out an excellent job of enhancing his free throw, from 61.4 p.c on the charity band as a rookie to 74.4 p.c now, he’s nonetheless struggling together with his leap shot. Having the arrogance to shoot is nice, however it’s a must to take your footage.

Barrett shot 32.0 p.c from the three-point vary as a rookie, and it dropped even decrease to twenty-eight.0 p.c in his second 12 months. The NBA recreation is turning into increasingly depending on capturing three, however Barrett’s recreation, in that side, is simply not the place it must be.

Below Thibodeau, the Knicks have performed swarming protection, however on the subject of the offensive finish, they simply shouldn’t have a constant three-point menace proper now. Reggie Bullock has been cold and hot, Alec Burks has been good however broken and Kevin Knox appears to have cooled down after an excellent begin.

There usually are not many three-point choices on the Knicks proper now, so if Barrett may tick for his share, even when it is solely within the 32-33 p.c vary, it could be very useful. Groups have typically gone to zone protection towards the Knicks, so if New York beats their three, they’re fairly robust to beat.

Barrett generally is a nice asset if he will get his punch. He tries 3.9 tries per recreation, which is a rise from his 3.5 final season, and as soon as once more the arrogance is there. He simply must do a couple of greater than he’s proper now.

Buzz on Barrett

From an NBA Scout, by way of SNY’s Ian Begley:

For essentially the most half, he reads properly on his gadgets not too long ago – that is one factor I observed. The shot hits or misses however he seems extra snug behind the body and repeats the identical mechanics extra typically … I like what he has carried out within the center class … I am nonetheless undecided concerning the shot, although … I am not saying one thing you have no idea, however the shot on the skin will decide loads for him


Barrett could not have come out of faculty with the identical celebrity potential as a Williamson or Morant, however he has confirmed to be an essential asset to what the Knicks hope to be.

Below Thibodeau, the Knicks’ id is shaped right into a hard-nosed defense-first group that desires to decelerate and bodily survive the opponents. And Barrett suits that form properly.

His capturing quantity must be improved. There isn’t a doubt about it. However he has no less than proven a willingness to proceed capturing and appears extra assured in doing so. In relation to creating himself from the dribbling, he is nonetheless an ongoing work, however he has all of the instruments to be a flexible, do-it-all-type participant, very like Jimmy Butler was underneath Thibodeau earlier.

He might not be notably spotty, however Barrett can do something, and there’s no cause to consider that he is not going to proceed to enhance as he will get older. He is solely 20, however he already seems like a group chief and an essential a part of what the Knicks are constructing.

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