Concerning Knicks Photo Emerges: RJ Barrett ‘Does Not Have It Easy’

RJ Barrett

Getty RJ Barrett during a February 2nd game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

With only 21 games remaining to the New York Knicks‘ 2021-2022 campaign, RJ Barrett is taking on a larger role for the team, but he can only do so much on his own.

Coming out of the All-Star break, the third-year wing scored 46 points in a loss to the Miami Heat.

This much was convincing of many people, including All-Star guard Jimmy Butler, that he’s the future of the Knicks.

But if that future is to be any brighter than the state of the franchise today, then he’s going to need some help.

This still from New York’s most recent loss to the Philadelphia 76ers emphasizes that.

It’s hard to think the 21-year old playing one-on-three basketball was a part of head coach Tom Thibodeau’s game plan.

Still, Barrett finished the night with 24 points on an inefficient nine-of-22 shooting from the field but added six assists, five rebounds, and two steals in an attempt to will the team to victory.

He was all but alone in that venture, as the only member of the Knicks to score in what ended as a 19-to-four run for the 76ers to close the Sunday matinee.

Rit Holtzman is right; RJ Barrett needs help. But following the New York Knicks’ 15th loss in 18 games, it’s never been less clear where he’s going to find it.

Of course, it doesn’t help that the team is down two of their best players indefinitely.

Knicks Lose Grimes, Rose

Walking out of the All-Star break, not even the most pessimistic of New York Knicks fans could have avoided the looming boost that the returns of Derrick Rose and RJ Barrett would bring.

The former hasn’t played since a December 16th win over the Houston Rockets, and the former hadn’t since February 8th, until he suited up Friday against Miami.

Now they’ll have to settle for just one, with the team announcing pre-game that Rose will undergo a second procedure on the ankle that’s kept him out this season, with no timeline for recovery.

The 2011 MVP had long been considered a potential savior for the Knicks down the stretch, should the team have opted to push for a spot in the play-in tournament and playoff berth.

Some fans were upset over the news, and rightfully so, given that this implies the team won’t be pushing for that down the stretch. But that feeling would soon be overcome with more concern over a different injury.

In the first half of their loss to the Heat, whatever was remaining of New York’s season took a big hit, with rising star Quentin Grimes suffering a non-contact injury in his right knee.

The team later diagnosed this as a subluxation of the right patella, which in layman’s terms is a dislocation.

Grimes made sure to fire off a tweet of positivity following the team’s loss.

The first-year guard had been starting in place of RJ Barrett prior to the All-Star break and leads the NBA’s rookie class in three-point percentage this season, minimum of 150 attempts.

Trust that this means RJ Barrett’s increased role will continue, and hopefully more of a certain young point guard, too.

Quickley Shines in Latest Loss

Despite the loss of Derrick Rose for what feels very likely will be the rest of the season, and Kemba Walker opting to sit out the remainder of the year, Tom Thibodeau remains committed to bringing Immanuel Quickley off the bench.

In the starting lineup, the head coach continues pursuing what feels like a Loch Ness monster-caliber pipe dream; turning veteran Alec Burks from wing to point guard.

The experiment has failed miserably by all accounts and raises suspicion about Thibodeau’s ability to coach this team out of the rut it’s found itself in on the second year under his watch.

Largely because when Quickley’s been given the opportunity, he’s taken advantage, and shined, more times than not.

Sunday’s loss is no exception. The second-year guard finished with 21 points, five rebounds, an assist, and a steal.

But as The Athletic’s Fred Katz noted in his latest work, that assist number should serve no indication towards Quickley’s ability to play point guard in New York:

Quickley tallied only one assist against Philly, but there could have been more. The Knicks missed five shots off would-have-been dishes from him.

It seems that on Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers, Immanuel Quickley, much like RJ Barrett, needed more help from his New York Knicks teammates.

Perhaps together they can find a way to help each other, and the team, down the season’s final stretch.

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