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Knicks ‘optimistic’ about RJ Barrett’s future despite inconsistent rookie season

knicks, r.j. barrett

As the NBA continues to remain in stasis due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Knicks are pondering the team’s future. In particular, the team is looking at how impactful rookie RJ Barrett will be as his career progresses with the team.

Ian Begley of SNY recently released a mailbag article and led it off with some interesting tidbits regarding Barrett. The question that led to this response was asking if the Knicks believe that Barrett can be a star going forward:

“I don’t think anyone can predict whether Barrett, who was selected third overall in the 2019 draft, will become a star in the league,” Begley said. “But people around the Knicks were impressed by Barrett’s consistent approach to the job and his work ethic. Some scouts I spoke with were impressed by Barrett’s ability to impact the game as a rebounder and defender fairly consistently in his first season. Those scouts think that if Barrett can improve his perimeter shooting and continue to progress as a defender, he’ll have a long, successful NBA career.”

Barrett was drafted out of Duke University after one season in Durham. And though he was overshadowed by his generationally gifted teammate Zion Williamson, it was often Barrett — not Zion — who ended up with the ball in his hands with the game on the line.

Many times, he was criticized for getting “tunnel vision” in critical situations, perhaps leading to the team’s ouster in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

In his rookie year, Barrett had been averaging 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists on a subpar 47.9 true shooting percentage before the season was cut short.