Knicks: One interesting excuse for RJ Barrett’s inconsistencies this season

rj barrett, knicks

After shooting 40% from 3-PT range last season, Knicks‘ 3rd-year guard RJ Barrett has taken a step in the wrong direction with his efficiency. Barrett is contributing 15 points per game, 2.6 less than his 2020-21 averages, indicating a downturn in production, which could be for a variety of reasons.

Barrett has been dealing with a stomach bug as of late, finally feeling his best against the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week when he posted 32 points on 7 of 8 shooting from deep. He added 19 points on 60% shooting from 3-PT range against Indiana in the Knicks’ blowout loss on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, Barrett has experienced inconsistencies, primarily linked to his shooting efficiency and defensive effort. However, he may have one legitimate excuse to fall back on, the change in basketball, which has impacted a number of players around the league.

Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Mannix noted on the Crossover Podcast that Barrett is “one of those guys that right now is having a little bit of trouble adjusting to the new ball.”

The new Wilson-brand ball has a different composition, which has throws off some players.

Mannix explained some of the issues plaguing players thus far:

“There’s a lot of those guys out there that are having some issues with the grip on that new basketball. What I was told by one coach was that because the ball hits the rim differently and bounces differently, guys are adding a little bit more arc to their shots. They’re literally changing their shots because of the composition of the basketball and that’s been screwing around with some guys.”

Changing from Spalding to Wilson has had an impact, and the Players Association stated that some players may have a tough time with the transition. After seeing a massive uptick in 3-PT efficiency last year, a natural regression was expected for RJ, but he recorded just a 29.2% hit rate in the month of November.

Nonetheless, Barrett’s success is integral to the Knicks winning games. When he’s struggling, the entire team falters on both sides of the ball. Hopefully, he continues to adapt to the new ball and begins seeing an uptick in production.