There’s a simple fact to keep in mind when considering the NBA Summer league, especially when it comes to New York Knicks first-round draft pick, RJ Barrett.
The Summer League doesn’t foresee the future for any players featured. If you can recall how awful Trae Young looked, Atlanta Hawks star, in the summer of 2018, you can make the obvious observation that, just maybe, we shouldn’t overthink a few bad performances.
Young, who’s now one of the league’s top scorers, thrived after his porous Summer League period. There’s nothing that says Barrett can’t do the same as he develops his game and adapts to the speed and physicality of the NBA.
At just 19-years-old, we must give him the benefit of the doubt. According to Clutch Points, one NBA scout stated:
“When you pick [at No.] 3, you’re trying to get an All-Star, and he definitely doesn’t look like that,’’ one NBA scout said. “But he looked like he’ll be an NBA player for a long time.’’
While it’s impossible to predict whether the Canadian native will be an All-Stat down the line, he certainly endured his fair share of struggles in Las Vegas. However, he did finish off the league with a near triple-double against the Washington Wizards.
Barrett finished the day with 21 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds. His assist numbers really jump off the page, showing his versatility and desire to move the ball. His ability to push the court downhill and break aggressively on offense has been exciting. That’s a trait he will need to maintain once the regular season comes around.
The pressure of being an early draft pick in New York isn’t easy for any player, especially when the struggles set in right off the bat. We must be patient with the young forward — he has a long career ahead and plenty of time to prove his worth in the Big Apple, so take a deep breath and think positively.