R.J. Barrett was selected third overall by the New York Knicks’ in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Drafted Thursday, Barrett is already talking Rookie of the Year.
“I’m not going to say that I don’t want it,” he told the New York Post.
“I’m definitely going for rookie of the year for sure, it’s going to be a battle. But I’m confident enough that I can get it.”
Barrett posted 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while at Duke.
He’s now prepping for next level in the NBA.
The Knicks have not been to the NBA Playoffs since 2013 and finished this past season with a 17-65 record.
This coming season, the orange and blue will feature a young roster that includes Barrett, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Dennis Smith Jr.
“I think we’re asking [fans] to continue to be patient,” Knicks President Steve Mills said on Friday.
“We laid out a plan when [GM] Scott [Perry] came on board and then [coach] David [Fizdale] joined us that we were going to build this team the right way,” Mills added. “We were going to draft well and we were going to be diligent about how we built this team, and not take any shortcuts.”
“I’d say this is going to be a great group of guys that are going to be together,” R.J. Barrett said Friday at his introductory press conference.
“We’re all excited for Coach Fizdale. This is the biggest stage. So yeah, I’m excited to be here, I’m excited to play.”
Summer League is around the corner and his preparation began even before Thursday’s NBA Draft.
According to SNY’s Ian Begley: Barrett has been training for several weeks with trainer Drew Hanlen. During training, they’ve prioritized two area’s of Barrett’s game: shooting and the ability to shift directions off the dribble to elude defenders – aka wiggle.
Barrett has moved his right hand on the side of the ball for a smoother release, and turned his stance to allow for a more fluid shot. He’s also spread his shooting hand, so the backspin on his shot spins tight and lowered his base so he has better rhythm, Hanlen says.
Million Dollar Question: Why would RJ Barrett be a good fit for the New York Knicks?
“When you look at R.J. Barrett the kid. I think he’s built for the big stage,” NBA analyst, Rashad Phillips tells the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“I think he likes to play on the high stage. I think he loves to play under the lights, the popcorn smell I like to say. I think New York is the perfect place for a guy like that. New York is not for everybody. But there’s a few players in this draft that can play in front of those type of people and have an impact. I think RJ Barrett is one of the few that can handle New York.”