RJ Barrett picked No. 3 overall by the Knicks
The New York Knicks have selected Duke wing R.J. Barrett with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
A consensus First Team All-American as a freshman, Barrett averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game as a freshman. While he shot a solid 45.4 percent from the field, an especially impressive number considering Duke’s struggles to space the floor, Barrett connected on only 30.8 percent from beyond the arc and shot 66.5 percent from the free throw line.
At 6-foot-7, 202 pounds, Barrett has an enviable combination of size and athleticism for a wing. He’s a long-strider in the open floor with deft body control, both while Euro-stepping his way to finishes and contorting himself midair to avoid contact and finish through traffic.
Barrett needs space to really explode vertically, though, and doesn’t possess a lightning-quick first step that would allow him to more easily compensate for a jumper that will require a lot of development going forward. Just as big a concern if his relative lack of length with respect to his ability play small-ball power forward.
Still, there haven’t been many ball-handling wings to ever come into the league who were as productive as Barrett was as a freshman. If not for Zion Williamson breaking college basketball with every high-flying finish and towering weak-side block, there’s a good chance Barrett would have lived up to his preseason billing as the No. 1 prospect in this draft class.
As is, he’s the rare player with the potential to develop into a quality oversized ball handler given his physical attributes, natural court vision, and unrelenting competitiveness.
If Barrett’s jumper comes along, a big if to be sure, don’t be surprised if the Knicks have themselves a future star.