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RJ Barrett’s next step in his evolution, per Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau

Knicks, RJ Barrett, Tom Thibodeau

RJ Barrett improved his stats significantly in 2020-21 after a rather up-and-down rookie season, and New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau couldn’t be more proud of his rising star.

However, Thibs himself knows that Barrett is far from reaching his full potential, which is why he wants the young guard to develop his all-around game and not just focus on scoring. The veteran coach also highlighted how Barrett has made a huge impact on the Knicks in their return to the playoffs last season, noting that his numbers were not empty stats and actually contributed to their winning.

“I want him to be more of an all-around player. The thing that I liked about what he did last year is that he averaged almost 18 points a game on a playoff team. So it wasn’t a guy on a bad team getting empty stats. They were meaningful, he contributed to winning,” Thibodeau said of Barrett.

RJ Barrett averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in all 72 games for the Knicks last campaign. What’s noteworthy about his game, though, was his improved shooting splits that went up to 44.1/40.1/70.6 after his rookie year that saw him shoot 40.2 percent from the field, 32.0 percent from deep and 61.4 percent from the free throw line.

Under Tom Thibodeau, Barrett has the opportunity to improve his defense, especially since the Knicks are trying to make an identity as a defensive-minded team. And with the way things are going, it sure looks like the Canadian guard is on the right track.