Knicks News: RJ Barrett’s improvement will blow your mind, what does Luca Vildoza bring?

If not for the magical development of New York Knicks‘ 20-year-old shooting guard RJ Barrett, they might not be as successful as they’ve been this season. Currently sitting in the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, Barrett has been the Robin to Julius Randle’s Batman.

Randle is having an MVP caliber season, and he’s dragging Barrett along with him as one of the best young players in the NBA. So far this season, RJ is averaging 17.6 points per game, a 3.3 point increase from his rookie season in 2019–20.

Barrett is also averaging 3.0 assists and 5.7 total rebounds per game. His .449 shooting percentage from the field is almost a .05% increase, and his three-point percentage has seen a .07% increase, skyrocketing from .320 a .390. Altogether, his statistics have taken a significant step forward in the right direction, and the Knicks couldn’t be happier about his development as he trends toward becoming a star.

However, if not for a few veteran mentors, Barrett’s development might be a bit slower. Point guard Derrick Rose has played a significant part in helping him mentally.

“At halftime, whenever I get a chance, I try to get him, get out of his own head, get out of his own way and let him know, ‘Don’t get frustrated,’ ’’ Rose said. “He does miss shots … [but] he’s a perfectionist, so whenever I see him down, I try to talk to him as much as possible. And the second half, he came out totally aggressive.’’

Responding to Rose’s comments, Barrett confirmed the assumption that he’s a “perfectionist.”

“Yeah, yeah I am that,’’ Barrett said sheepishly, scratching his face. “I will say that. I hate when everything’s not perfect. I hate missing. If I do everything right and I miss the shot or I do everything right then I turn over the ball, I hate when things aren’t perfect.”

What are the New York Knicks getting in Luca Vildoza?

Vildoza signed with the Knicks, who is working on a buyout with Bastonia, his current Spanish club. The 25-year-old can play both guard positions and is shooting 38% this year, scoring over 10 points per game.

While Luca isn’t eligible to play just yet, he will be available for the postseason, representing a finisher from the point guard position and someone who can create with either hand. He can hit shots from all levels of the court and has a bit of flair to his game. He should add a well-rounded presence at the PG position, something the Knicks have been lacking behind Derrick Rose.

They don’t like to use Immanuel Quickley in that role, pairing him as a shooting guard with Rose or Elfrid Peyton. Having quality depth down the stretch is extremely important, especially as fatigue starts to set in with aggressive play during playoff games.