New York Knicks: RJ Barrett is the real deal and he’s showing us why

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

Rookie players in the NBA rarely get off to productive starts without any minor speedbumps. Typically, those hurdles are at the expense of their physical makeup and if their bodies are ready to compete against grown men. For players like New York Knicks 3rd overall pick RJ Barrett, that’s a challenge he will inevitably face, similar to Kevin Knox.

Having a physical disadvantage shouldn’t deter aggressiveness or confidence, and those are two things Barrett doesn’t lack. He has taken the reigns at times and attacked the rim with force, proving he’s not afraid to be the player he was in college, averaging 22.6 points per game.

Barrett has slowly developed into himself this preseason, finishing 9-for-12 with 19 points against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. He also managed three assists to help move the ball around the floor and show the “point guard” mentality that he has.

The Duke product was extremely efficient with his passing in college, which needs to be a focal point of his game moving forward. Having the ability to contribute to his teammates and not be selfish is essential in the NBA, and he’s already starting the on the right foot.

What makes the New York Knicks rookie so appealing?

His overall health and work ethic are the most attractive parts of RJ Barrett right now. He handled 36 minutes against the Hawks with ease, proving that he can remain active and not pick up minor injuries by being reckless with the ball. He’s a smart player that understands the nature of the game, and he’s quickly learning how to take high-percentage shots and having caution with the ball in his hands.

Barrett knows why the Knicks drafted him — to bully his way into the paint and make contact.

“I feel like the knicks drafted me because they knew what I could do,” the third overall pick said. “That’s my game. I could do that at any level. I’m going to continue to do that.”

Head coach David Fizdale has been delighted with how his rookie looks so far in the preseason. The maturity and development he’s shown in such a short amount of time are exciting.

“I said it, man, he doesn’t look like a rookie,” coach David Fizdale said. “He’s a tough kid. He really knows how to play and he’s fearless.“

If you’re a Knicks fan, you should be looking forward to the future, because this kid has all of the tools in his tool-box.