New York Knicks: Kevin Durant would be perfect mentor for RJ Barrett

Alexander Wilson
New York Knicks, Kevin Durant
April 28, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates against the Houston Rockets during the second quarter in game one of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Knicks can lure superstar forward Kevin Durant to the Big Apple, they could find themselves in a position to realistically contend for the playoffs after having the worst record in the NBA in 2018.

Drafting RJ Barrett with the 3rd overall pick seems like the most obvious move, especially if they are able to grab a point guard in free agency as well. With options like Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker available, there’s no question the Knicks will do their due diligence on the elite players.

The New York Knicks could complete a rebuild in one offseason:

Adding Barrett, Durant, and either Irving or Walker would turn over the roster completely. The most exciting aspect of this trio would be the effect Durant has on Barrett and his development.

The Duke star is coming off a stellar season where he averaged 22.6 points per game, 7.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 0.9 steals. Impressive production for a player featuring behind Zion Williamson, who will undoubtedly be the No. 1 pick to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Both Durant and Barrett play similar positions and are keen on driving to the basket. The Warriors star is a far better shooter, but that’s part of his game that can translate over to RJ with a bit of exposure. Comparing their field goal percentage (Durant 52.1%) to (Barrett 45.4%), there’s plenty of room for improvement.

My ultimate question is – will Durant be open to helping Barrett and embrace the leadership role required of him if signed? Kevin has shown in the past that he can be egotistic in ways, and taking on a mentor role could be one of them, especially after featuring on such a dominant team like Golden State.

However, Barrett’s godfather is Steve Nash, one of Durant’s close friends. This could indicate a blossoming relationship between the two, but nothing is set in stone. There’s little evidence that shows the Knicks taking another player other than RJ, and unless Ja Morant falls, it should be an easy choice.