It might not seem like it, but New York Knicks swingman RJ Barrett just turned 21 over the summer, but his game is already well-established.
Going into his third NBA season, he appears ready to take his biggest leap yet, and the team will be all the better for it.
It’s been an offseason of improvement for a lot of the Knicks’ young core, and that’s going to prove to vital for the team’s future success.
Coming off their disappointing first round exit in the playoffs, the Knicks will look to bounce back and they will need to rely on players like RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, who’s poised for a breakout of his own.
In an interview with SNY’s Ian Begley, Knicks All-Star Julius Randle talked a bit about Barrett and explained how he’s just getting better and better as time goes on.
RJ Barrett Keeps Improving
The first thing Randle notes in the interview is just how old Barrett is. At the ripe age of 21, he’s still younger than most in the league, which makes his rapid development that much better.
“RJ’s going to be a really good player,” Randle told Begley. What is he, 21? I don’t know how old he is. He’s young as hell. He’s a really good player, and I can relate as far as what he’s done, and what I’ve seen from him so far in this offseason is he just keeps improving. That’s really what it’s about.”
It’s not unnatural to see players get better the longer they’ve been the league, but Randle has noticed that it’s something deeper than that.
“You can tell the guys who really love the game and really dedicate themselves to their craft and he’s one of them,” he said. “He’s going to keep improving. I think he’s going to have another big year and make a jump. And I’m excited, not only for him as an individual but for what he’s going to bring to our team. Because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. Our team success. And he’s going to look great because of that.”
If he continues this trend, then the next season will be looking very good for Barrett and the rest of the team.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Contrary to the recent past, the Eastern Conference has a lot more talent than it did when LeBron kept running through it.
The Knicks came away with the fourth seed in the past season, but they might not reach that high again, and that’s not an indictment on them.
With the Hawks, Nets, Celtics, 76ers, Bucks and Heat all looking like solid teams, the Knicks might need some breaks to go their way to reach those same heights.
At the very least, the additions of Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker should get them into the playoffs, but it remains to be seen how far the team can really go. If they remain healthy, they might be able to surprise some people just like they did last season.