RJ Barrett’s trainer reveals how Knicks wing turned things around after slow start

knicks, rj barrett
Dec 21, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) celebrates after scoring in the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks starting wing RJ Barrett remains out with a lacerated right index finger. But before the injury, Barrett was on a tear.

ESPN anchor Mark Jones mentioned during the Knicks-Atlanta Hawks game broadcast on Dec. 7 that before that game, Barrett’s personal trainer Drew Hanlen came in to tweak his shot.

Hanlen confirmed the report on his Twitter three weeks after.

Barrett’s tweaked shot did not take off against the Hawks right away, as he only hit 4 of 13, including 2 of 6 from deep, and settled for 15 points. But it didn’t really matter as the Knicks won that game, 113-89, by clipping Trae Young.

It didn’t take long, though, before Barrett got comfortable with his new shooting form.

In the next game, Barrett exploded for 26 points on a 50 percent shooting clip in Charlotte, which started a five-game streak of scoring 20-plus points.

After an 18-point game in the Knicks’ 38-point rout of the depleted Golden State Warriors, Barrett scored 74 points in his next two games, including a season-high 44-point losing effort to the Chicago Bulls last Dec. 23.

Over his last 10 games before his injury in the opening minutes of the Knicks’ overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Barrett averaged 25.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 47 percent from the field and 44.6 percent from the three-point zone.

It was a remarkable improvement for the fourth-year Knicks wing after a slow start to the season. In his first 25 games, Barrett was hounded by inconsistency, averaging only 18.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while shooting 40.3 percent overall and just 28.5 percent from deep.

Barrett is still without a definite timetable for his return. Still, the hope is he will continue making strides this season, especially after inking the most lucrative contract in franchise history — $120 million, including bonuses, over four years, in the offseason.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo