Grading the Knicks’ NBA 2K22 Ratings: Are they accurate?

knicks

With the release of NBA 2K22 last Friday, we finally have our first look at the 2021-22 New York Knicks roster in 2K. This also means that Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes are playable for the first time ever. Let’s dive into these ratings and see if 2K got it right.

The Ratings

Julius Randle, 87

Can’t really complain about this one. Coming off the best season of his career where he won Most Improved Player(MIP), Randle has earned his place among the top ratings in the Eastern Conference. He should probably be at an 88 or an 89, but his performance in last year’s playoffs definitely played a factor in this year’s rating.

Grade: B

RJ Barrett, 83

This one was really surprising. Not because of how he isn’t higher, but because 2K finally decided to show RJ some respect. 83 is honestly a really great jumping-off point this upcoming season for the 21-year-old. The rating isn’t too low or too high, it’s perfect.

Grade: A

Kemba Walker, 83

Unsurprisingly, this is the lowest rating Walker has had since NBA 2K16. The 5-time All-Star had one of the worst seasons of his career last year and looks to bounce back on his hometown team. His dynamic scoring and playmaking abilities could transform the Knicks’ offense, leading to a ratings boost down the line. However, whether it be from his knee issues or just a regression of his skills, there is also a chance 83 isn’t the lowest we see his rating throughout the year.

Grade: A-

Derrick Rose, 83

After a terrific playoff series against the Hawks last season, D-Rose earned this 83 rating. Although he’s tied for the 2nd highest rating on the team, the former MVP will be coming off the bench this season. Look for him to make a real run at 6th Man of the Year and for this rating to stay pretty much the same all season.

Grade: A

Mitchell Robinson, 80

There’s no question about it: When the 7’0 Robinson is healthy, there are not many other players in the league who can match his level of athleticism and energy. However, he’s coming off multiple injuries, the latter of which saw him miss the final 26 games of the regular season, including the series against the Hawks. If he’s able to stay healthy, there’s little-to-no chance that this rating stays the same. For now, it does make sense after not playing half of last season.

Grade: B+

Evan Fournier, 79

This is the first one that’s way off. 2k has had a tendency in the past to underrate guards/wings that can score in a multitude of ways. Any guard they perceive to not be able to defend well and not have playmaking abilities will have a hard time getting a rating over 80, especially if they play for the Knicks. This one just doesn’t make sense, though. It could be due to the fact that the devs may have been taking his stats with Boston into account too much. Before his trade to the Celtics, Fournier was putting up almost 20 PPG in only 30 minutes per game. Fournier is at least an 82, maybe even an 83. The intangibles he brings on offense, including his shooting and finishing skills, are better than any other 79 in the game. This rating isn’t accurate at all.

Grade: F

Immanuel Quickley, 78

As one of the biggest steals in the 2020 NBA Draft, Quickley improved his rating from a 71 last year all the way up to a 79 by the end of the year. This is why this rating doesn’t really do it for me. To drop down a point after an entire offseason doesn’t make much sense. We’ll see how it unfolds for the second year from Kentucky, but there’s little doubt that he improves enough to get this rating over 80 by the playoffs.

Side note, Quickley is REALLY good at NBA2K.

Grade: C

Nerlens Noel, 78

As the defensive anchor of the Knicks throughout the final stretch of last season that culminated in the team making the playoffs for the first time in 8 years, Noel proved that he wasn’t your average backup center. Defensively, Noel is an incredibly reliable option off the bench. However, his offensive woes will always hamper any rating he’ll ever get from 2K.

Grade: A-

Obi Toppin, 76

If it weren’t for the competency and confidence shown by Obi Toppin at the end of the season last year, there’s a chance he’s nowhere near the 76 that he finds himself right now. The potential is clearly there, but will he find the ability to become more offensively dynamic? Only time will tell. But until we see him take a big leap, the rating he currently holds will stay the same.

The Rest:

Taj Gibson, 76

Kevin Knox, 72

Quentin Grimes, 71

Luca Vildoza, 71

Dwayne Bacon, 71

Miles McBride, 70

Overall, the Knicks have a team rating of 83, which is the highest rating they’ve had since NBA 2K14.

Why Knicks’ Evan Fournier and RJ Barrett are an underrated duo

new york knicks, rj barrett

Adding talent this off-season was a priority for the New York Knicks, especially with a ton of cap space to spare and utilize. Of course, they would’ve preferred to land a big name with championship-caliber play, but instead, they added several players who can contribute toward a deep postseason run over a longer period.

Acquiring Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker injects talent into two positions that were considered weaknesses last season. While Reggie Bullock, who spent the last two years with the Knicks, played valiantly, averaging 10.9 points and shooting 41% from three-point range, Fournier offers a massive upgrade.

Not only is the French-born player capable of creating shots for himself, but he’s also a better three-point shooter, averaging 41.3% last season over 6.7 attempts per game. Bullock only attempted 3.8 shots per game from distance, showcasing the difference in scoring production.

Fournier finished last season with 17.1 points on average, 3.4 assists, and had a 56.5 effective field-goal percentage. He is far and away a better offensive player and even contributes more defensively. He will take significant pressure off power forward Julius Randle, as defenders simply can’t crowd the interior and force the Knicks to win with their shooting.

However, the pairing of Fournier and third-year player RJ Barrett could be something special. One of the most important aspects of sports is communication, and that assessment doesn’t differ in the NBA. Both Fournier and Barrett speak French, allowing them to communicate in a different language, which could give them a slight advantage over their competition, who can’t intercept information. While some might consider this a non-factor, playing off one another and creating shots will be a focal point for the Knicks, which will give them another element offensively.

Barrett, who had his best season to date during the 2020-21 season, averaging 17.6 points, 3.0 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and shooting 44% from the field, is looking to take another step forward this upcoming season. His three-point percentage increased to 40%, attempting 4.3 shots per game. All together, Barrett and Fournier averaged a combined 34.8 points per game.

The primary goal for both players is to improve their shots selection and creation for their teammates. Last season, Fournier posted a 37.2% rate for field goals made unassisted. He is not a traditional spot-up shooter like Reggie Bullock, which offers benefits to a team that needs to draw attention away from their best player in Randle.

Just the slightest advantage in communicating in a different language can be beneficial, which will likely improve the chemistry between RJ and Evan. Another interesting point to make is at Fournier’s assist rate has consistently improved throughout his career, and Barrett saw his average increase from 2.6 to 3.0 last season. If they can continue to improve in that category, they have the potential to be a fantastic scoring duo.

How Knicks’ RJ Barrett can make the jump to All-Star in 2021-22 season

new york knicks, rj barrett

The New York Knicks are building something special after a surprising 2020-21 campaign that saw them reach the playoffs and secure the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. The majority of their players have spent the entire off-season working diligently to improve their skills and come back even stronger in the second season under head coach Tom Thibodeau.

Aside from Julius Randle, Immanuel Quickley, and several other key pieces in the Knicks’ plans, one player who has the potential to elevate his status to All-Star is guard RJ Barrett. The youngster averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, shot 44.1% from the field, and 40.1% from three-point range, a career-high. He also saw his free-throw success rate increase to nearly 75%, which was a huge improvement compared to his 61% rate during his rookie season. If he continues improving at this rate, he’s bound for serious All-Star consideration.

Barrett has spent his off-season working on his shot creation and dribbling, giving him more versatility in the paint and efficiency from mid-range. Barrett participated in The CEO of Pure Sweat Basketball, spending time with players like Joel Embiid, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, and more.

If Barrett wants to take the step to All-Star, he must find ways to create shooting opportunities for himself rather than be a kick-out option in the corner. If he can draw significant attention away from defenders, opening up the floor for teammates like Randle, Kemba Walker, and Evan Fournier, his status will quickly begin to grow around the league.

Taking a look at his advanced statistics, Barrett scored 29.4% of his points from three-point range, 54.3% from two-point range, and only 7.0% from mid-range. Adding an effective shot from the elbow will give him an entirely new element to his game. It’s about adding diversity to his shot selection and keeping defenders unbalanced.

Barrett has done a great job creating shots for himself inside the paint, driving to the rim. He has a 64.7% rate regarding two-point field goals made unassisted. However, when you take a look at his three-point field goals made unassisted, he hovers at just 2.4%.

His overall percent of field goals made unassisted was 48.2% during last season’s campaign. If he increases that number to show he can score without others facilitating, his value will skyrocket. In addition, RJ will also draw more defenders toward him, which will maximize the Knicks’ other talents. He only averaged 3.0 assists last season, while Julius Randle posted a career-high of 6.0 assists per game. Ideally, Barrett increases that number which will directly benefit players like Randle, who operate in the paint and outside the perimeter.

At just 21-years-old, Barrett is headed into the third year of a four-year, $35.6 million rookie contract. The Knicks have the ability to pick up his club option next season and a qualifying offer at $14 million during the 2023-24 campaign. Fortunately, they have three more years to exercise Barrett’s potential, and he could end up being one of the best players on the team with a bit more refinement and experience.

3 bold Knicks predictions for the 2021-22 regular season

new york knicks, rj barrett

The New York Knicks are entering the 2021-22 season with elevated expectations and plenty of talent to justify their goals. After earning the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks are looking to make an even deeper run this upcoming season, and signing Evan Fournier, and Kemba Walker should back up that assessment.

Let’s take a look at three bold predictions they could see several young players make an even bigger impact.

Three bold predictions for the Knicks next season:

1.) RJ Barrett will lead the team in 3-PT percentage

Last season, second-year shooting guard RJ Barrett ended up being one of the team’s best three-point shooters. He finished the season, hitting on 40% of his shots from three after connecting on 32% during his rookie campaign in 2019. Attempting 4.3 shots from range per game, he connected on 1.7, posting 17.6 total points. His corner three-point shot was lethal for a team that desperately needed him to improve from beyond on the rim.

Barrett ranked fifth on the team among players who averaged 10+ minutes per contest. He sat behind Alec Berks, Julius Randle, Derrick Rose, and Reggie Bullock. He was only 1.4% away from being the team’s top three-point shooter, and that is a goal he’s looking to accomplish this upcoming season. Working on his shot creation and shooting fundamentals, Barrett leading the team in that category, would see his value skyrocket at 21 years old.

2.) Immanuel Quickley will average 15+ points per game

Second air player Immanuel Quickley had himself a solid Summer League running point, averaging 20.2 points per game over 33.5 minutes. Quickley averaged 11.4 points last season over 19.4 minutes per game, and both of those statistics could see an increase next season. Shooting nearly 40% from the field and 39% from three-point range, Quickley proved he is an offensive weapon that is only hitting his stride at the NBA level.

However, during the Summer League, he only shot 33.7% and 24% from three. The sample size is extremely small over just five games, but he’s more than capable of averaging 15+ points per game, especially as Tom Thibodeau will look to get him involved.

Some might say Quickley scoring 15+ points isn’t a bold take, but the Knicks have a lot of mouths to feed this season, especially with the retention of Alec Burks and the signing of Kemba Walker. I wouldn’t forget about the drafting of Quentin Grimes either, who will earn minutes at shooting guard.

3.) Mitchell Robinson will win DPOY of the year

There’s nobody that believes in Mitchell Robinson more than himself and the front office, as he’s been vocal on social media propagating his hard work this off-season. Increasing his size and muscle mass, Robinson is optimistic he can win Defensive Player of the Year. As a lanky center who can guard the perimeter, Robinson is capable of being a star defensive player, but his primary struggle is remaining healthy. Robinson has never played over 66 games in a season, playing in just 31 last year with a broken foot and hand.

If he can remain consistent in the health category, Robinson can easily become one of the league’s most feared defenders. Improving his physicality in the paint will also give him more success against bigger, more imposing power forward and scoring centers. During his rookie year, Robinson blocked a career-high 2.4 shots per game. He will be looking to resurrect that version of himself — coincidentally, Mitch also played the most game of his career in that season. Momentum has proved to be a catalyst for his success.

Just how genius is the Knicks’ long-term financial strategy?

new york knicks, rj barrett

The New York Knicks finally have a sense of direction thanks to the hiring of president Leon Rose to lead the franchise from the front office. Taking a different approach toward the rebuild, the Knicks not only succeeded in their player evaluations through the draft, but their financial strategy has taken a significant step forward.

Several factors have contributed toward the Knicks becoming an attractive destination for star players. While they didn’t secure the rights to a player like Chris Paul this off-season, they did add Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker, two players who will offer more offensive efficiency and production compared to Elfred Payton and Reggie Bullock.

However, the Knicks are thinking long-term, but they’re also in a position to win now with the talent currently on the roster. Financially, they extended multiple players preparing to hit the open market but interestingly included a nonguaranteed third-year to clear salary space for several reasons.

Whether RJ Barrett is at the forefront of their decision-making financially or they are targeting a player like Zion Williamson down the road, the team will have plenty of funds available to them if need be. Just take a look at these contracts and how healthy they are for their future plans.

How great do the Knicks’ contracts look for the future?

Alec Burks: 3-years, $30 million

Nerlens Noel: 3-years, $27.7 million

Derrick Rose: 3-years, $43.56 million

Julius Randle: 4-year, $117 million (AAV under $30 million per season)

Theoretically, if the team is looking to open up salary space, they can clear Burks, Noel, and Rose off the books after the 2022-23 season.

How much will that account for?

The team would add a staggering $35.77 million, enough to extend RJ Barrett on a max contract or add a big name to complement Randle, who will only be in the 2nd year of his extension.

The maximum salary coming off a rookie contract is five years, $163 million (could be more if the salary cap continues to climb). However, that would be an ideal scenario for the Knicks, which would indicate Barrett becoming an All-NBA level talent that dominates in multiple facets.

More-so, the Knicks might be eyeing Williamson, whose contract with the Pelicans ends after the 2022-23 campaign. The Pelicans can offer him the qualifying offer, but the Knicks would have the monetary flexibility to present him with a massive offer sheet. Williamson has already indicated his love for the Knicks and desires to play in New York, so when his contract in New Orleans finishes, he will have a bit more leverage.

Nonetheless, taking a look at these contracts opens an exciting door that shows the quality of the front office and how they are strategizing for the future. At last, competent management for a franchise starving for leadership.

WATCH: Knicks’ Quentin Grimes and RJ Barrett are putting in the off-season work

new york knicks, rj barrett

The New York Knicks have built out a solid foundation of young players with upside. In the most recent draft, the front office snagged Quentin Grimes out of Houston to bolster the shooting guard position. During Summer League play, Grimes increasingly became more efficient, averaging 32.8 minutes per game and scoring 15.3.

Grimes shot 41.6% from the field and 40.7% from the three-point range, averaging nine attempts per contest. He also picked up 1.3 steals per game, 3.0 assists, and 6.3 rebounds.

Overall, he showcased his abilities as a scorer, but he is buried on the depth chart behind options like Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley. However, Grimes will be pushing for minutes during his rookie season, and if the Knicks can produce enough offensively, Grimes could pick up valuable garbage minutes toward the end of games.

Grimes has been working diligently to improve his qualities — working on shock creation and shooting form. Considering how he finished the Summer League, scoring 66 total points in the final three games, the 25th overall pick clearly has solid attributes that translate to the next level.

Aside from Grimes, who is 21 years old, fellow teammate RJ Barrett has spent two years in the NBA is the same age. Last season, Barrett played in all 72 games despite not being old enough to buy an alcoholic beverage in New York. He averaged 17.6 points, 3.0 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field. He also posted a career-high 40% from downtown, attempting 4.3 per game. His effective field-goal percentage settled at nearly 50%, as Barrett feasted in the corners from three-point range.

The young shooting guard is a starting-level talent that is just hitting his stride in the NBA after building muscle mass and experience. Barrett entered the league as a skinny guard, but he’s added plenty of size and weight to take on more physical defenders and drive to the basket with authority. With superior athleticism and great defensive prowess, Barrett will only be looking to improve upon his strengths this off-season.

During Drew Hanlen’s “Pure Sweat Run” this past week, Barrett featured with some prominent names in the NBA, including Carmelo Anthony.

It is nice to see the Knicks’ young players taking this off-season seriously and continuing to put the work in to improve ahead of an important 2021–22 season. With the front office injecting more talent and funds into the bolstering of the team, the Knicks have all the potential in the world.

How Knicks’ free agent signings will help RJ Barrett reach a new level

new york knicks, rj barrett

The New York Knicks did exactly what they needed to do this offseason acquiring two players that can create their own offense: Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker. With the former Boston duo now sharing the backcourt in New York, one can only think that this will greatly benefit 3rd year forward RJ Barrett.

This past season, we saw much-improved play from the 21-year-old from Duke. Barrett increased his scoring, his efficiency, and his FG and 3pt FG %, all while being the second scoring option on a playoff team. He also improved his defense, becoming a reliable option for Coach Tom Thibodeau.

Where RJ Barrett Needs to Improve

If there’s one part of his game that needs the most work, it’s his shot creation. In 2020-2021, Barrett relied mainly on his perimeter game and finishing skills at the basket to generate offense. He only shot a combined 36% on field goal attempts from 10 feet to the 3 point line. Additionally, these only accounted for .156 of all RJ’s attempts. If he expects to take the next big leap as a scorer in 2021-22, he’s going to need to learn how to become more efficient at creating more midrange opportunities for the Knicks.

Barrett has been working this off-season diligently to improve his shot-creating and hesitation moves. Elevating that category will take pressure off Julius Randle to be the primary scorer, and with RJ’s ability to drive the rim, kicking it out to his sharpshooters will become even more lethal.

Fortunately, the presence of Walker and Fournier, two players that demand attention on offense, will give Barrett extra room to create and learn. He could also take after the two guards, who thrive from inside the 3 point line. Last season, Walker (in his worst shooting season since he was a rookie) still shot 41% from midrange, which was down from 47% the season before. Fournier, on the other hand, shot 44% from the same area while also seeing a big dip from previous seasons.

While Barrett’s scoring average may go down due to less usage, the play of the Knicks’ two newest additions will allow him to work on finding other ways to score and help him improve his ability to move without the ball.

There’s certainly a lot to look forward to this season, but how RJ continues to develop as a player will be one of the most intriguing.

Knicks open NBA Summer League against Raptors

The New York Knicks will showcase their young core in the 16th MGM Resorts NBA Summer League set to tip-off on August 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The NBA announced Wednesday that all of the 75 NBA Summer League games would air live on television on ESPN networks or NBA TV. Every game will also be available to stream on the ESPN App.

Barring any trades, the Knicks’ Summer League core will feature Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Kevin Knox, and newly-signed guard Luca Vildoza from Argentina and their draft picks. RJ Barrett could join them unless the Knicks hold him back to avoid injury. Former Kentucky big man Reid Travis, who went undrafted in 2019, will join the squad. Other free agents trying out for training camp spots will round up the team.

It will be the first NBA Summer League for Quickley and Toppin, as the league didn’t hold one last year due to the pandemic.

There is a big chance Vildoza can make it back to Las Vegas in time for the opening tip against the Toronto Raptors on August 8, as Argentina is in limbo in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Argentina lost its Olympics opener to Luka Doncic and Slovenia, 1118-110, where Vildoza scattered 11 points on 3-of-8 field goals, five assists, three rebounds, and three steals in 23 minutes of play.

As it stands, Argentina must win its next two games against Spain and host Japan to advance to the quarterfinals. If the Argentinians split their remaining two games, they have to end up as the top two third-place finishers among all groups. The quarterfinals will be played on August 3, followed by the semifinals two days later and medal matches on August 7.

Here’s the Knicks’ NBA Summer League broadcast schedule (all in Eastern Time):

Aug. 8 vs. Raptors 4:30 pm ESPN2

Aug. 11 vs. Lakers 10 pm ESPN2

Aug. 13 vs. Pistons 8 pm NBA TV

Aug. 14 vs. Cavs 8 pm NBA TV

Should the Knicks advance, they will play at least an additional game in the knockout-style playoffs on August 16. The NBA Summer League Finals will be played on August 17.

Fans who want to watch the games live can purchase tickets by visiting NBAEvents.com.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Report: Knicks’ RJ Barrett ‘untouchable’, Cavs seek veteran for Collin Sexton

The Collin Sexton to the New York Knicks trade rumor is more complicated than it seems.

The Athletic reported on Wednesday that the Knicks are the most aggressive trade suitor for the extension-eligible Sexton. But Shams Charania, who broke the report, cleared the air that the Cavaliers are in no rush to trade Sexton.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com further reported on Wednesday that the Cavaliers and the Knicks have discussed Sexton but added that “they’ve put a hefty price tag on him, which could make a deal challenging.”

“If the Cavs can use Sexton as a trade chip to improve other areas of the roster and find a better-fitting piece that helps maximize (Darius) Garland’s skill set while also hedging against a difficult financial decision, they will consider it,” Fedor wrote.

A package of Kevin Knox, Obi Toppin, and one of the Knicks’ 2021 firs round picks floated around after the Sexton trade rumor made headlines. But it seems that package isn’t palatable to the Cavaliers as they reportedly seek a veteran help, putting the Knicks in a bind.

Ian Begley of SNY reported on Thursday Cleveland’s preferred haul in a potential Sexton trade.

“One team doing its homework on a possible Sexton trade believed Cleveland would like to get a veteran who can help the club win in return for the 22-year-old guard,” Begley wrote.

The Cleveland.com report added that the Cavaliers were smitten with RJ Barrett ahead of the 2019 draft that they tried to move up a few spots. Their attempt was obviously unsuccessful, and they settled with Garland with the fifth overall pick.

But Begley noted that Barrett is apparently untouchable.

“People in touch with the Knicks recently came away with the impression that New York had little interest in including Barrett in any trades,” Begley wrote.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

 

Knicks Rumors: Conflicting reports have RJ Barrett’s future going in two different directions

new york knicks, rj barrett

The New York Knicks likely understand that if they want to trade for a high-profile player, they must part ways with significant value. Ranging from young talent to draft selections, the Knicks have plenty of assets to allocate in such a trade plot, but they have to establish boundaries.

Of course, if Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard forces his way out, the Knicks will be in the conversation, depending on the price tag. Their draft selections are undoubtedly up for grabs in this theoretical situation, and several young pieces could be considered trade bait as well, but one player they should hold onto for the long term is Canadian-born guard RJ Barrett.

Conflicting reports indicate different Knicks front office opinions on trading away RJ Barrett:

SNY’s Ian Begley stated that the Knicks don’t have much interest in parting ways with RJ Barrett in a prospective trade:

One other note: People in touch with the Knicks recently came away with the impression that New York had little interest in including Barrett in any trades.

Barrett took a massive developmental jump last year, averaging 17.6 points, 3.0 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field. He also increased his three-point percentage from 32% to 40% in one season, attesting to his growth. He started in all 72 games, averaging 34.9 minutes per contest.
If he continues on this trend, Barrett could end up being a bonafide star in the future, and risking that reality for one player on a monster contract could be a massive mistake.
What do you consider trading Barrett for a superstar? Comment below!