One of the biggest parts of this offseason was RJ Barrett signing his contract extension with the New York Knicks.
The timing was rough as it came right after it was reported Donovan Mitchell was being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Knicks fans are definitely happy to see Barrett sticking around.
While the two players drafted ahead of him have already been named to All-Star teams, Barrett has improved each season he’s been in the league and he became a 20 points per game scorer last season.
In fact, his third season in the league was much improved over current Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler. Some might consider it to be a cherry-picked comparison, but it’s worth looking at considering who Butler eventually evolved into.
Barrett Has Edge Over Butler in Season 3
Butler didn’t become a 20 ppg scorer until his fourth season, which is also when he earned his first All-Star nod. Barrett has reached that point a whole season earlier, as pointed out by Twitter user ObiMuse, a play on the viral StatMuse account.
The account takes things a step further by saying Barrett is going to be the better player when it’s all said and done, but the jury is still out on that.
What’s important to note is Barrett is on a trajectory that is ahead of Butler’s somebody who is highly coveted in the league. It doesn’t mean he’s better than him or anything of that sort, but it does reveal the Knicks swingman is still developing.
It’s tough to compare players like this because the situations are so different. With the Bulls, Butler wasn’t really asked to be one of the top options until the second half of his tenure there while Barrett has been asked to help shoulder the load immediately after he was drafted.
As it stands right now, Barrett’s stats have improved each season, and if that happens in his fourth season as a pro, then an All-Star appearance won’t be far behind.
This Knicks team for next season is arguably the most talented one Barrett has been on since being drafted, so it might result in better numbers for him as well.
Will the Leap Come for Barrett?
Knicks fans are hoping that an extension for Barrett will alleviate any stress he might’ve been feeling about not being signed for the future, so there should be no more distractions for him.
There are scenarios where the numbers drop after signing a big contract, and Randle might actually be one of those examples. There’s nothing to indicate Barrett will be going into a slump next season, especially with Jalen Brunson as his new running mate.
Randle and Barrett should see their efficiency increase since the ball won’t be in their hands all the time anymore, but whether that’s enough to get the Knicks to the playoffs will be another thing entirely.
There’s a lot of optimism surrounding the team going into the new season, but the same could be said of last year’s Knicks squad.