RJ Barrett admits he was pleasantly surprised by his first meeting with New York’s front office
The New York Knicks haven’t exactly been a bastion of competence in recent years. Despite their status as one of the NBA’s most iconic teams playing in the world’s largest media market, the Knicks have time and again failed to take exploit the inherent advantages they have over every other organization in the league.
Fortunately, after the departure of Phil Jackson as team president two years ago, New York has slowly rebuilt its reputation when it comes to the basketball decision-making process. Still, as R.J. Barrett so frankly explained to The Undefeated’s Marc Spears, that doesn’t mean the No. 3 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft had high expectations for his pre-draft meeting with the Knicks’ front office. In fact, he was surprised by just how well it went.
“It was a great meeting,” Barrett said of his sit down with New York president Steve Mills, general manager Scott Perry, and other team executives. “They were all great, and very honest, and I really appreciated that. We had a great conversation.
“I was very surprised, but I was really comfortable.”
The Knicks zeroed in on Barrett immediately after earning the third overall pick in the draft lottery. Following his meeting with the front office and workout at team facilities, the Duke freshman hardly made it a secret he hoped to be drafted by New York.
A 6-foot-7 wing with a high-level handle, canny ability to finish in the paint, and underrated passing instincts, Barrett teams with third-year point guard Dennis Smith, 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox, and sophomore big man Mitchell Robinson, an athletic marvel who was statistically dominant in limited playing time as a rookie, to give the Knicks a better collection of young talent than they’ve had in recent memory.