The New York Knicks find themselves back in the win column after downing the Detroit Pistons at home on Friday evening. With this, Tom Thibodeau’s squad boasts a .500 record of 6-6 and is slotted into the seventh seed out in the Eastern Conference standings.
Though perhaps their November 11 bout may not have been the smoothest of victories, nonetheless New York ultimately pulled away from the lowly Pistons by a final score of 121-112.
The team’s Big 3 of Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and RJ Barrett spearheaded the charge for the Knicks during the contest, as they combined for 77 points, 17 assists, and 14 rebounds.
Leading all scorers was Barrett, who ended the night dropping 30 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 5 assists on 58.8% shooting from the floor and 37.5% shooting from distance.
With his performance, the fourth-year wing earned significant praise from both the Garden crowd and reporters, as they couldn’t help but focus on his tremendous showing.
During a post-game media session, when speaking with Brunson one reporter went on to highlight Barrett’s top-notch performance against Detroit and asked him what he believes the youngster’s ceiling could wind up being.
In response, the point guard didn’t shy away from making some seriously bold proclamations about his 22-year-old teammate.
“I think he can be an All-Star. I think he can be a very impactful player. I think he can lead a franchise,” Brunson told the reporter. “That’s what he was picked here to do, and can do it. I have the utmost faith in him.
“He works very hard. He has a great demeanor about how he plays. You never see when he’s frustrated, you never see when he’s having the game of his life. He’s always even-keeled.”
Brunson would continue by saying that Barrett’s willingness to take on any moment without fear makes him “capable of doing a lot of big things” which, after having inked him to a new four-year, $120 million extension this past summer, is certainly what the Knicks are hoping to get out of their promising franchise centerpiece.
Barrett Coming on Strong For Knicks
Starting off the 2022-23 campaign, RJ Barrett struggled to find his footing on the hardwood, particularly when it came to his scoring efficiency where he posted averages of 18.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.2 assists on just 37.8% shooting from the floor and a putrid 14.3% shooting from deep through their first five games played.
These individual troubles proved to be rather concerning for fans, media pundits, and Barrett himself, as he couldn’t even pinpoint any particular reasons for his slump.
However, as time has passed it appears that the Knicks star is finally turning the corner, as he’s been playing lights out over his last seven outings, posting stellar averages of 21.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists on a drastically improved 49.1% shooting from the floor and an even more impressive 42.9% shooting from distance.
As the season progresses, the hope is that Barrett’s recent play is what will show up on a nightly basis rather than his previous level of production.
Exec Sounds Off on Knicks Guard
During a recent sit down with Heavy Sports’ NBA Insider Sean Deveney, an Eastern Conference executive was all smiles and filled with praise when discussing the impact that Jalen Brunson has had on the Knicks since signing with the club back in July, going as far as to suggest that he’s been worth every penny of his four-year, $104 million contract thus far.
“I think they are getting what they paid for there,” the exec told Deveney. “He has been good offensively, effective, moving the ball, he has not been overwhelmed by having a bigger role.”
Though during his four years spent in Dallas he was utilized as a secondary ball handler and playmaker what with the fact that he was sharing a backcourt with ball-dominant superstar Luka Doncic, Brunson now finds himself serving as the lead floor general for the Knicks in 2022-23 and, so far, he’s looked incredibly comfortable and efficient in his new role.
Through 12 games played with New York, the 26-year-old finds himself posting impressive per-game averages of 19.8 points, 6.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and a steal on 48.9% shooting from the field whilst leading the team in both offensive box plus-minus and overall box plus-minus.