With the Washington wizards climbing back against the New York Knicks in their first preseason game of the season, third overall pick RJ Barrett iced the game with two clutch free-throws.
The second half of the contest showed why the Knicks are so high on Barrett and that the quality he displayed during college is transferable to the NBA. RJ played a whopping 39:20 minutes in his debut on Monday night, and head coach David Fizdale‘s confidence in the rookie paid off.
The New York Knicks are taking the right approach with their rookie:
Ensuring that Barrett gets plenty of playing time is essential in his developmental process. Working through the kinks in his game and adapting to the physicality and speed of NBA quality players requires live action. While the Knicks only have three remaining preseason games left, I anticipate Fizdale well continue to play him into the regular season. At just 19 years old, his potential is sky-high, and getting him on the floor, and building chemistry with the veterans is a priority.
“He’s 19,” Fizdale said of Barrett. “And he’s got to play. It’s the same thing I did with Kevin (Knox). These guys have to play, see situations and feel out the game. At the same time I wanted to have him out there because he was playing so well.
Barrett finished the nights with 17 points, three assists, seven rebounds, and turned the ball over twice. He shot .462% from the field and made two of six three-point shots.
RJ Barrett’s pre-season debut:
6-13 FG pic.twitter.com/GQBw3sNtZy
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 8, 2019
While there’s plenty of room for growth, the first game was a success for Barrett, who dominated in the second half after a rough outing in the beginning. His 39.3 minutes lead the team, and only Kevin Knox trailed close behind with 29.4 minutes.
Knox scored 12 in the contest and tallied one assist and seven rebounds, but it was clear that RJ was the better player throughout the game and seems to have more potential at this point. Barrett provides excitement and optimism moving forward; in fact, the entire youth agenda for the Knicks should spur confidence.