After 20 regular season games, RJ Barrett’s becoming a very tough player on a defensive minded New York Knicks team ran by Tom Thibodeau. Barrett is no longer trying to become a shooter, the chiseled 20 year old is focused on versatile scoring, playmaking, and being a physically tough defender. The starting shooting guard for the Knicks is constantly exploiting mis-matches on the offensive end of the floor. An opposing coach dare not put a weak defender on Barrett at anytime during game action. The former third overall pick has been emerging as a very crucial and mentally tough player for the Knicks due to his basketball IQ, steady improvement, and extremely hard work ethic. RJ Barrett is always locked in and it’s a beauty to watch his intensity live on a nightly basis.
The defensive side of the ball is being focused on heavily this season under Tom Thibodeau. Thibs harps on defense in practices. Players are being held accountable and a culture change is not only on the horizon, we’re in the midst of it.
RJ Barrett and Julius Randle have both been extraordinary in the playmaking department. Many are wondering whether or not Elfrid Payton in the starting lineup offers too much playmaking instead of a balanced scoring attack to start off games. Many fans are calling for rookie steal Immanuel Quickley to start in the backcourt next to Barrett. Time will answer all these questions. However, in terms of the point guard situation for the Knicks, the rookie from Kentucky has proven his capability and poise to finish games due to his elite natural shooting ability. Quickley may make life even easier for RJ Barrett in the future once he fully understands the point-guard on-ball position on both ends of the court.
RJ Barrett Will Eventually Pick His Opponents Apart on a Nightly Basis.
Knick fans please don’t take RJ Barrett for granted. The former lottery pick is the real deal. Barrett’s competitive nature is extremely fun to watch. Most importantly, Barrett’s evolution in the NBA is leading him into becoming a dangerously versatile scorer and playmaker who is able to pick his opponents apart on a game to game basis. This is the kind of player Knick fans should be really excited about because the NBA game is still being learned by the 20-year old. He’s surrounded by a top notch player development staff, therefore, Barrett’s stock most likely will rise in the next few years.
In 2019 Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski expressed his feelings about then rookie RJ Barrett to Adam Zagoria of Forbes. Coach K stated the following:
The main thing is he seems like he really loves New York. He’s acclimated himself, he hasn’t hidden. He’s been out there, shown how much he loves to be there, and he’s embraced the city instead of being fearful. I think that puts him in a great place, that doesn’t surprise me. He’s going to be comfortable and Fiz will do a great job of getting him comfortable.
The growth of Rowan Alexander Barrett Jr. has been fun for diehard Knick fans to witness. The phenom out of Montverde Acadamy is proving his worthiness of being a top three overall pick during the 2019 NBA draft. Hard work and determination is what Barrett is all about when the cameras aren’t rolling. Zion Williamson and Ja Morant was selected before RJ Barrett during the top-heavy 2019 NBA draft. Barrett feels as if he’s on the same level as those two franchise players selected before him. Time will tell, however, Barrett’s play recently has been very encouraging for Knick fans.
Overall, the growth is happening before our eyes. Coach Tom Thibodeau is pulling the best out of the young Knicks roster. The projector is pointing upward at the moment for New York City’s beloved team. Currently number one in the league in points allowed and opposing three point shooting percentages, the Knicks are still improving upon their already stifling defense. Yes there are still holes that need to be addressed on an already good defense, however, Thibs and staff will continue sharpening the iron. RJ Barrett is definitely an important piece to the formula in a pandemic stricken New York City. Once fans finally are able to enter through the doors of MSG, it will be a raucous situation for opposing teams on a nightly basis.