Knicks’ RJ Barrett delivers solid performance in second preseason matchup

New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) takes a shot against Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks G/F RJ Barrett was exceptional in the team’s 121–112 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. In their second game of the preseason, he scored a team-high 23 points while also adding two steals.

Barrett shows aggression in second preseason game

Barrett got busy early in this one, scoring 15 of his 23 points in the first quarter, playing with an aggressive pace similar to what the Knicks saw from the 23-year-old in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, finishing hard through contact, and getting to his strengths.

Barrett’s playmaking has also been visibly improved in the team’s first two preseason matchups, making much quicker decisions with the ball in his hands, and finding open teammates.

That aggressive pace has helped Barrett draw more fouls early in the preseason, and the former Duke product has made the most of these opportunities. Through the team’s two preseason games, Barrett is shooting a combined 18-21 from the charity stripe, good for an 86% free throw percentage, 15 percent higher than his career average of just 71%.

Knicks hoping for a big step forward from Barrett this season

For a player of Barrett’s caliber who can at times be deemed a volume scorer with not much efficiency, staying aggressive, and converting free throw opportunities is key to putting pressure on the defense.

This massive improvement, along with his heightened intensity on the offensive end, could be a sign of a sizable scoring leap to come for the fifth-year forward.

Barrett will aim to continue his solid play when the Knicks take on the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, October 17th. An aggressive, while also effective, Barrett is essential to the Knicks’ success for this upcoming season.

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