Knicks Rumors: NBA Insiders Believe RJ Barrett Has All-Star Potential
RJ Barrett entered the NBA with high expectations when the New York Knicks drafted him third overall in last year's draft.
According to what league sources have told Marc Berman of the New York Post, it's way too soon to give up hope that Barrett will fulfill his potential.
"His top attributes-an instinctive knack to use his body to wiggle to the basket, a consistently high motor and a serious-minded work ethic-have several NBA personnel people not giving up on Barrett as a potential All-Star," Berman wrote Sunday night. "Not at age 19."
"RJ Barrett is not going to fail," a former NBA head coach told Berman. "He's got too much size, too much ability shooting, driving. His perimeter shooting and free-throw shooting-that will get better with time. We all know that. That's what happens with NBA players."
Barrett was averaging 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steals in 30.4 minutes across 56 games (55 starts) before the NBA suspended the 2019-20 season because of the coronavirus pandemic. He's second on the Knicks in scoring behind Julius Randle (19.5).
However, Barrett shot just 40.2 percent from the field, 32.0 percent from three and 61.4 percent from the free-throw line. Those numbers are similar to his shooting statistics in his lone season at Duke.
The Knicks have not been a breeding ground for success in quite some time. This season has seen a lot of upheaval in the front office, which doesn't necessarily create an environment conducive to developing young talent.
New York firedhead coach David Fizdale on Dec. 6 after getting off to a 4-18 start. That was followed by team president Steve Mills' firingon Feb. 4. Mike Miller has been acting as the interim head coach, while Leon Rose was hired as the new president earlier this month.
"The Knicks scouting staff has been instructed the top priority is a scoring point guard on whom to use their lottery pick," Berman reported in mid-February. "The second priority, likely for the Clippers' pick, is a shooting guard who has three-point range-something rookie RJ Barrett has not shown."
At 21-45-the fourth-worst mark in the Eastern Conference and sixth-worst in the league-the Knicks figure to have a high lottery pick for the second straight year.