Former Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson raves about team’s progression, RJ Barrett

New york Knicks, Mike Woodson

The New York Knicks are just one day away from facing off against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday evening in their opening series of the postseason. The Knicks have enjoyed the week off to gather their strength and prepare mentally for their first appearance in the postseason since 2013.

The progress this team has made in just one season has been tremendous, thanks to Tom Thibodeau and Julius Randle. However, we shouldn’t discount the chemistry between the players, the performance of Derrick Rose, and the development of second-year shooting guard RJ Barrett. One former Knicks coach had nothing but great things to say about Barrett and the current state of the team.

SNY’s Ian Begley interviewed Mike Woodson, the Knicks’ former HC, to discuss the development of the team and especially RJ Barrett:

“The chemistry is fantastic because you haven’t had any issues off the floor or on the floor. They don’t fight amongst each other on the floor; they push each other, they’re all positive. It’s just a solid group of guys that’s been assembled in New York this year, solid.”

Woodson left the Knicks to become the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers men’s team. As a 10 year veteran in the NBA and spending the last few years as a coach at the NBA level, he was ready to make the shift and take on a new challenge.

Mike spoke specifically about RJ Barrett, who has experienced major progress this year with his shooting. He’s averaging 17.6 points per game, an increase of 3.3 compared to his rookie season. He also has made a jump in rebounds at 5.8, assists, 3.0, and is shooting .441 from the field. His most impressive statistic, though, has been the improvement of his three-point shooting, currently hitting on .401 of shots over 4.3 attempts per game.
“He’s made a major, major jump. Johnny (Bryant)’s worked with him some and he’s made the leap. Everyone was questioning and doubting him coming into the season, saying he can’t shoot. And he proved them wrong. But there’s always another level. Is he there yet? No, he’s not there. But he’s headed in the right direction, I’ll tell you that.”
Barrett has been a catalyst for the Knicks on offense this year, and his chemistry with Randle has proved to be one of the main factors behind their success. As long as Randle is drawing attention and healthy, Barrett continues to feed in the corners as one of the best shooters in the league from the baseline.
New York will need both Julius and RJ to be playing at their peak potential as they prepare for the Hawks on Sunday.
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