When the New York Knicks drafted RJ Barrett with the 3rd overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, they received one of college’s most dynamic players. His efficiency in the paint and driving to the rim makes him an exciting prospect for the Knicks and their future.
At 6-foot-7, the forward will begin his rookie season as a starting option. However, he has plenty of challenges to overcome and will face adversity in his first season as a professional. The physicality and speed of the NBA will require him to not only grow physically but mentally.
The Knicks signed a slew of veteran free agents to help bolster the team’s production. Also, they will help Barrett and the younger players develop into solidified options and productive scorers.
Who will be the primary mentor for New York Knicks rookie, RJ Barrett?
I believe that sixth-year player Julius Randle will be the catalyst behind Barrett’s success. The power forward has developed a variety of skills throughout his career. He finished last season with an improved .344 three-point percentage, and a second consecutive year with a field goal percentage over .500. He averaged 21.4 points in a secondary role behind Anthony Davis for the Pelicans in 2018.
One of the categories that Barrett is already refined in and will look to improve upon is his assist totals. He averaged 4.3 assists per game in college and 4.2 in the summer league this off-season. In fact, he might be able to help Randle in that facet. If he can develop his jump shot and scoring efficiency, RJ can surely be one of the Knicks’ top scoring options and leaders moving forward. However, battling against stronger and more talented defenders will be a hurdle RJ has to overcome.
Earning consistent playing time will help Barrett progress and adapt to the NBA quickly. Following Randle’s lead and learning how to penetrate the paint effectively will be a priority for the rookie. We should expect Barrett to start through the good and the bad, which is a good thing ultimately given their expectations for him down the road.