When RJ Barrett is playing at the top of his game, the Knicks are a better team. And it’s not even close. Barrett has endured his fair share of inconsistencies this season, but that didn’t stop him from a buzzer-beat shot off the glass to take down the Boston Celtics last week.
The third-year guard has proven to be a streaky player, but when he’s on his star-power flashes. With Julius Randle contributing a measly two points against San Antonio on Monday night, Barrett carried the load for his team, shooting 3-of-4 from 3-PT range and produced 31 points (his 2nd time in four games with 30 or more points).
To start the new year, Barrett is shooting 43.5% from three-point range, averaging 20.8 points per game, and enjoying 36.8 minutes of playing time.
There is no question that RJ is finally hitting his stride, proving to the fan base and media that he can elevate a team in need of firepower.
After the win over San Antonio on Monday, center Mitchell Robinson raved about his efficiency, and the pressure takes off his teammates.
“I love when RJ plays like that. Takes a lot of pressure off me. Yeah RJ, keep doing your thing, man”
Robinson has recorded double-digit points in the past two games and picked up 19 rebounds. With a more prominent interior force, the Knicks’ starting big man can create more opportunities around the rim with Barrett’s contributions.
RJ thrives off of confidence, and clearly, he had a strategy in place to improve his game upon the new year. According to him, he’s just enjoying playing basketball.
“I think I was just playing basketball”.
Barrett is the 4th player at age 21 or younger with multiple 30 point games in a season versus the Spurs. The only other three players to accomplish that are Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant, and Bernard king.
Hopefully, the Canadian-native continues to develop in the coming weeks. The Knicks desperately need him at the top of his game if they want to make a legitimate push at the post-season.