Julius Randle’s bold RJ Barrett prediction will please Tom Thibodeau, Knicks fans
The New York Knicks’ biggest star today is Julius Randle, but the veteran forward doesn’t want fans to take their eyes off RJ Barrett. After all, he sees the young wing taking a major leap in his third year in the NBA.
In an interview with Ian Begley of SNY.TV, Randle opened up about Barrett and his talent and capability to be a true cornerstone of the franchise for the years to come. For Randle, there is no doubt that the Canadian swingman has what it takes to be a legitimate star and a franchise leader.
“RJ’s going to be a really good player. What is he, 21? I don’t know how old he is. He’s young as hell (laughs). He’s a really good player, and I can relate as far as what he’s done, and what I’ve seen from him so far in this offseason is he just keeps improving. That’s really what it’s about,” Randle said of his Knicks teammate.
“You can tell the guys who really love the game and really dedicate themselves to their craft and he’s one of them. He’s going to keep improving. I think he’s going to have another big year and make a jump. And I’m excited, not only for him as an individual but for what he’s going to bring to our team. Because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. Our team success. And he’s going to look great because of that.”
Is RJ Barrett poised to be an All-Star in 2021-22? Julius Randle didn’t get that far, but it’s clear he has high expectations of the former Duke standout.
For what it’s worth, Randle has every reason to be excited about Barrett and predict a big year for him. The 21-year-old upped his numbers in his second year, averaging 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Barrett was also efficient throughout, registering a 44.1 percent overall shooting clip and 40.1 percent from deep on more than four attempts.
If Randle’s prediction comes true and Barrett takes his game to another level, then it’s not impossible for New York to replicate their success in 2020-21 or even surpass it. The Knicks finished with a 41-31 record last season, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference.
As for Randle, he also has a pressure-packed campaign ahead after signing a monster four-year, $117 million deal this offseason.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau and the rest of the Knicks fan base, however, will certainly like what they’re hearing from Randle.