With the NBA postponing the remainder of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Knicks have been given the gift of conservation. Rather, being put out of their misery during another tumultuous season.
The knicks did see some positives this past year as rookie RJ Barrett displayed his potential in The Garden and in front of former Knicks fan, Spike Lee (joking).
If the season does end early, Barrett will have finished with a solid stat line in his rookie year — 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.0 steal per game. Both Zion Williamson and Ja Morant have been impressive, providing highlight real plays daily.
“Everyone is going to talk about Ja (Morant) and Zion (Williamson), for obvious reasons,” one Western Conference executive said, per Ian Begley of SNY. “But I like RJ a lot. I think he can have a long, successful career in this league if he stays healthy.”
The pleasures of youth bless Barrett and his team, as he boasted confidence beyond the likes of many. His desire to simply play the beautiful game and reach his potential has put him in a spot of leverage, whereas players like Julius Randle have been selfish on the court and failed to make an impact.
Western Conference executive: “We all talk about his shot, but I think that will come because, by all accounts, he’s a worker. What I liked about RJ this season was how comfortable he was on the floor. He didn’t seem to be overwhelmed by anything on the court – and that’s big, especially in a market like New York. Teams started to play his left hand a lot — so he’s got to work on going right — but he was still effective going left even though teams had that scouted. He still got to the rim. But he also seemed to get tunnel vision at times — not passing enough for my taste. Maybe that had more to do with the guys he shared the floor with? Whatever it was, I think his passing will improve with time. He’s showed that he can distribute the ball and has strong vision. So I think there’s a lot to build on.”
Barrett isn’t the most refine long-range shooter, but he’s competent in getting to the rim and drawing fouls. Hopefully, he can continue to build on the success he’s already enjoyed and develop is shot to an adequate level. He hit on 32% of three-point shots this season before operations shut down. The league average hovers in the 36% range, which isn’t too far off from where Barrett lies. He has plenty of time to refine that part of his game.