The Knicks need RJ Barrett to perform as he did in Game 5 if they want any chance of advancing to the next round. Barrett played one of his better games of the series on Wednesday, and the Knicks need him to continue scoring and spreading the floor. While the offense runs through Jalen Brunson, as demonstrated in the Game 5 victory, RJ must keep scoring to provide the Knicks with another option down the court.
The Knicks need RJ Barrett at his best:
Barrett is among the more intriguing players to watch, and his confidence is highly visible when he is playing well. He enjoys driving to the rim, finishing through contact, and taking a few threes when the shot is open. RJ is undoubtedly one of the best options for securing a crucial bucket, and the Knicks are aware of this.
With Brunson, Randle, and Barrett, the Knicks should be able to guarantee approximately 70 points between the trio. If they achieve that, they can depend on their defense to carry them through.
Barrett scored 26 points on 8-17 shooting in their recent win and has also recorded games with 24, 24, and 26 points in this series. He is contributing, but the Knicks need even more from him. Some of those performances were inefficient, but he continues to play a crucial role in the offense. If Brunson struggles, RJ can ease the burden on his shoulders and assemble a nice run. He displayed a few moments of brilliance against the Cavs, and it would be great to see him take charge.
Having RJ Barrett continue to develop as the playoffs progress is precisely what Knicks fans want to see. At just 22 years old, he is already immersed in one of the most demanding situations a player can experience. If Randle struggles, it is up to RJ to pick up the slack. If Randle is excelling, RJ will have more open opportunities due to double teams and traps, and he must capitalize on those shots. It is not far-fetched to say he is the key to the Knicks advancing to the next round.
I believe that this Knicks team is far from finished in this series. The Game 5 victory was just one obstacle they overcame, and now they must win two more games in Miami. It is a challenging task, but I think they are up for it. Playing in Miami is not easy, especially if Jimmy Butler performs as he has throughout this playoff stretch. It will require a collective effort, and RJ will need to continue proving he belongs. He is a star in the making, and a few more games of elite basketball will solidify that.