Shooting an averaged 21% from the field in New York Knicks third-overall pick RJ Barrett’s first two Summer League games shouldn’t be cause for concern, but as we follow the media in New York, we have to talk about it.
Barrett, a 19-year-old talent that’s expected to make an impact with the Knicks and their struggling franchise, has struggled to start off his career, luckily these two games don’t have any real meaning or implications. Atlanta Hawks star Tre Young looked awful in his first Summer League games in 2018 and yet he was one of the league’s most dynamic scorers.
Shall we take a unified breather and let the kid develop before we coin him a bust?
At least one New York Knicks rookie is flashing signs of potential:
The silver lining, however, has been 47th overall pick Ignas Brazdeikis, who stole the show on Sunday night against the Pheonix Suns, leading both teams with 30 overall points, drilling a three-ball to cap off a Knicks late spurt that forced extra time.
Now, while the Knicks do have some positives to enjoy, the questions revolving Barrett are not worth considering. He’s a young kid with a ton of expectation hanging on his shoulders. Imagine yourself in that position with the most volatile and daunting media in the country. The forward will be just fine, and we need to give him as many minutes and reps as humanly possible to expedite his growth.
Shooting 3-of-15 from the field, 1-of-5 from three-point range and 1-of-4 from the free-throw line with eight turnovers will seem like a distant memory when it’s all said and done. We’ve seen what he’s capable of at the highest level, and we watched his former teammates Zion Williamson get stuffed by Kevin Knox twice in one game.
It takes time to adapt to the speed and strength of NBA players. It’s not an overnight success story, it takes time and hard reps to reach the potential set out for any given player, especially Barrett in New York.
If there’s anything Barrett is lacking, it’s surely not athleticism:
🌪 @RjBarrett6! 🌪
— NBA (@NBA) July 8, 2019
The first-round draft choice has seemed to struggle against bigger opponents at the next level, as he often bullied his way into the paint during college. He will need to develop a stronger shooting game and gain some size along the way. At such a young age, there’s only so much he can control when it comes to his physical mass.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 8, 2019
Becoming more efficient will require him to take ample shots during the pre-season and not lose his confidence. Reminding him that missing is only a part of growing should be the mantra he follows.