The New York Knicks harbor high hopes that their fifth-year guard, RJ Barrett, will exhibit a significant improvement during the 2023-24 season. If Barrett can consistently deliver the star performances he’s shown glimpses of over the past four seasons, the Knicks might not need to pursue a third marquee player via trade.
A Key Contributor for the New York Knicks
In an ideal scenario, Barrett will elevate his game, becoming a key contributor who consistently performs for New York. Last season, he averaged 19.6 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while shooting .434 from the field. Regrettably, his three-point shooting dipped to a career-low of .310, leading to an effective field goal rate of .485.
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Preseason Training and Physical Enhancement
However, a recent workout video featuring Barrett reveals his commitment to off-season training, suggesting he’s intent on enhancing his game.
It’s evident that RJ has gained some weight, potentially to boost his physical presence in the paint and to augment his scoring aggression. While it’s safe to presume that Barrett will continue to utilize his perimeter and three-point shooting abilities, the Knicks may be counting on him to provide more physical presence, aligning with coach Tom Thibodeau’s preferences.
Roster Adjustments to Support Barrett
The front office’s decision to sign Donte DiVincenzo, a proficient three-point shooter who opted out of his contract with the Golden State Warriors, may allow them to rely on other players to bolster their three-point production.
The Path to a Successful Season
Barrett possesses the ability to perform various roles on the court, but improving his defense could be a crucial part of his future success.
Gaining weight may aid him in defending against larger opponents, but it’s equally vital that he maintains his agility, which could potentially be compromised. Focusing on his jump shot should be a priority this offseason, with the aim of carrying this momentum into a robust campaign as he commences a four-year, $107 million contract that runs until the end of the 2026-27 season when he will be just 27 years old.