Knicks’ RJ Barrett has cooled off after hot start to the season

New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) drives to the basket against the Utah Jazz during the second quarter at Delta Center
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett’s hot start to the season had fans excited for a potential breakout season. However, the inconsistencies in his game have returned, and the Knicks are feeling the effects of his recent slump.

Barrett struggled mightily in the Knicks’ loss to the Jazz

In Wednesday’s upset loss to the Utah Jazz, Barrett scored just nine points in 24 minutes with terrible efficiency. He shot 3-16 from the floor and 0-7 from three, and missed his first nine shot attempts of the game.

While he wasn’t the only Knick to struggle, his lackluster performance surely did not help them stay afloat in a game they were the heavy favorites coming into.

Barrett is trending in the wrong direction

This dud of a performance from Barrett is not a one-time occurrence, but rather the continuation of a disturbing trend. According to The Strickland, over his last 11 games, the fifth-year forward is averaging 17 points per game while shooting just 38% from the floor and 25% from three (worst in the NBA per KnicksMuse).

His first seven games were brilliant, as he averaged 22 points and was shooting close to 50% from both the field and three, but a migraine spell that kept him out of action for a week appears to have hampered his play.

“Having a week where you don’t play, it’s not ideal,” said Barrett on Dec. 3 via The New York Post. “But at the end of the day, I’ve also had a [few] weeks where I’ve been playing. No excuses.”

Barrett’s alarming inconsistent play has returned

Knicks fans have grown accustomed to inconsistent play from the 23-year-old wing, as last season’s collision course was the real tipping point. After last year’s playoffs and the start of this season, it looked as though he was finally going to be a positive contributor on a consistent basis, but things have taken a turn for the worse.

The Knicks have a grueling schedule through the rest of the month and into January in which their next 10 games are against teams above .500, with seven of those games on the road.

If they want to come out of that stretch in a good place, they will need Barrett to turn things around fast. He will have his next opportunity to bounce back when he and the Knicks take on the Phoenix Suns on Friday.

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