Trainer Reveals Reason for Knicks’ RJ Barrett’s Turnaround

rj barrett

Getty RJ Barrett might be putting it all together.

Coming into the season, there were big expectations for New York Knicks star RJ Barrett after inking an extension.

Barrett’s extension keeps him in a Knicks jersey over the next four seasons and pays him over $100 million, so he has a hefty contract to live up to.

After getting off to a slow start, there was some chatter about Barrett not making a leap forward, but he has since turned things around in a big way. Before an injury caused him to miss time, Barrett was lighting it up on the court, and his trainer Drew Hanlen reveals the reason for that shift is because of the change the two made to Barrett’s shot.

Barrett Has Done a 180

While Barrett was exactly stinking it up on the court, he was largely putting up the same type of production he did a year ago, which isn’t what the Knicks were hoping for from their former number three overall pick.

Hanlen says they made a tweak to Barrett’s shot in early December, and that has led to a big increase to his production.

“We made a tweak to his shot Dec 5,” he said in response to a fan question about the Knicks star. “In the ten games since then, he’s averaging 25/6/3 while shooting 47/45/73.”

For the season, Barrett is averaging 19.7 points per game on 42.7 percent shooting, and those numbers were on the rise before his finger injury. The Knicks will have to hope this inopportune injury won’t cause Barrett’s strides to be wiped away, but instead he would be able to keep the ball rolling once he returns.

Some Concerned He’s Hit His Ceiling

Barrett has given encouraging signs that he’s started to turn a corner, but he’s going to have to keep it up over the course of the season if he wants to really prove his doubters wrong.

An Eastern Conference general manager speaking to Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney says Barrett has a long way to go.

“I think that is a question everyone has asked about him since he has been in the league,” the GM said when asked about Barrett reaching his ceiling. “He has gotten stronger, he is better at attacking the basket than he was. Gets to the line more, and that is good. But there is not much room to grow there. His shooting is erratic, he has not gotten better there. But there are other things he should be doing. I’d like to see him get better as a passer, that is one thing, and he just hasn’t.”

Before Barrett signed his extension, there was a chance he could be shipped elsewhere, perhaps being a cornerstone of the Donovan Mitchell trade. However, things didn’t shake out that way, and the GM said that came down to him not holding a ton of value.

“When RJ came up in trade talks this summer, there just was not that much value there,” the GM continued. “He has a lot to work on.”

According to Hanlen, he’s making those strides and fans have seen it play out on the court, so they’ll just have to hope he continues taking those steps forward once he gets healthy again.