Knicks Show Love For RJ Barrett’s Lesser-Known Skills

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

Getty RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks controls the ball during the first half against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Julius Randle may currently be viewed as the main star attraction for this New York Knicks squad, but RJ Barrett is without a doubt the team’s most valuable asset when it comes to the future of the franchise.

Since being selected third overall back in the 2019 NBA Draft, with every passing season it seems as though the wing has gone on to up his productivity in virtually every statistical category.

This past year, Barrett finished things off by boasting inspiring averages of 20 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3 assists through 70 games played.

During his four-year tenure, the 22-year-old has managed to establish himself as one of the best young building blocks currently found in the association thanks to his hounding defensive efforts and highly impressive three-level scoring abilities.

However, when on the floor RJ Barrett provides far more than just these aforementioned attributes, and the Knicks recently went about and highlighted this on their official Twitter account with a video compilation showcasing some of his best assists of the 2021-22 season.
As the year progressed, it was rather apparent that Barrett started to become far more comfortable when serving as a playmaker, as he averaged just shy of 4 assists a night through the final 21 games played and cut down his turnover rate by 9.9 percent.

Barrett’s Not Considered a Major Draw

Even with his incredible potential and impressive play throughout his time with the Knicks, one could still argue that Barrett is simply not enough to entice any marquee available players to make their way to New York.

At least, that’s what former journeyman forward Richard Jefferson suggested in an August 11 episode of the “Bad Weather Fans” podcast, saying “no one’s going to come to New York to play, [currently] right now, with RJ Barrett.”

The 2016 NBA Champion would later go on to say that though the franchise may not currently possess that specific player who can help attract stars looking for a change of scenery, acquiring Donovan Mitchell, someone already high on New York’s trade wish list, could be a way to add on this type of lacking commodity.

“People will go play with Donovan Mitchell. People will be like ‘oh if he’s there, ok. Listen, I’ll go team up with that guy,’” Jefferson said. “If you have a chance to get Donovan Mitchell, you get Donovan Mitchell.”

Knicks prefer to give up Barrett Over Grimes

After nearly a month-long pause, The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Tony Jones reported in an August 16 article that the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks have re-engaged in talks pertaining to a Donovan Mitchell blockbuster which, to many, is viewed as a positive sign.

However, though both parties are once again in communication, this does not mean they’re on the same page when it comes to piecing together a trade that’s mutually desired.

Per an August 20 report by the New York Post’s Marc Berman, the Knicks are reluctant to add the heavily sought-after Quentin Grimes into a potential deal for Mitchell and are shockingly more willing to include Barrett in an outbound package before the soon-to-be second-year guard.

“There is belief around the league Thibodeau would prefer to give up Barrett in a deal than shooting guard Quentin Grimes, who is coming off a solid rookie year, and a summer league in which he looked quicker and more sculpted. Grimes is a better defender and 3-point shooter than Barrett…Ainge is hot to acquire Grimes for his Jazz rebuilding plan,” Berman wrote.

Though the thought of losing Barrett may upset some Knicks fans, in reality, such a move seems rather unlikely, for an Eastern Conference General Manager recently discussed the wing’s contract situation with’s Sean Deveney and delved into why it could be offputting for teams to bring him aboard via trade.

“R.J. is extension-eligible. That is a tough position. He might want max money or something close to it. He is not going to get it. It’s a tough negotiation for the Knicks with that because you have to commit to $30 million per year for a guy who is very good as a scorer and has potential but has not shown he is an elite player, really. There is interest in R.J. but no one wants to trade for him, then take on the job of negotiating with him. Let the Knicks do that,” The executive told Deveney.

Without Barrett involved, any potential deal that brings Mitchell to the Knicks will almost certainly have to include young prospects such as Grimes and Obi Toppin being shipped out to Salt Lake City.

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