The New York Knicks have a busy offseason ahead of them as they look at ways to improve their roster and get back to the playoffs.
Following up a season in which the Knicks couldn’t even make the play-in tournament, there are a lot of areas that need to be adressed. It all starts at point guard, a spot where the Knicks have been looking for answers for years now.
Whether it’s through a blockbuster deal or through a key signing, the Knicks have to do something to fill the void there. Somewhere where they have less questions is RJ Barrett.
The third-year player, who can play both in the back court or the front court, made a big leap this past season and averaged 20 points per game. Being picked third overall gives him a lot of expectations to live up to, and it looks like he’s well on his way to doing that.
His strong season has even caught the attention of star guard Kyrie Irving, member of the crosstown rival Brooklyn Nets. Irving was asked what he thought of the Knicks youngster during his recent Twitch live stream, and he showered the 21-year-old with praise.
Irving Praises Barrett
While streaming Grand Theft Auto V, Irving spent some time chatting with his viewers, and while some of the time was spent destroying trolls, he did cover some other topics.
Something that Knicks fans likely didn’t expect is unexpected praise of Barrett.
“Y’all keep asking me about RJ Barrett, RJ Barrett is tough, c’mon y’all know this, stop it,” he said. “Y’all know these things, RJ Barrett is tough.”
It’s not an earth-shattering revelation that Irving shared, but it does show that he’s aware of Barrett’s game and that he respects it. If the young Knicks star continues his upward trajectory, he could be earning All-Star appearances very soon.
While Barrett had a good season stats wise, there are some areas of improvement. He took the most shots per game in his career at 17.1 a game, but he only knocking down 40.8 percent of those. That’s not a recipe for success and he’ll need to become more efficient if he wants to take the leap to the next level.
Will Barrett Stick Around?
Something that’s unclear about the future of the Knicks is whether or not Barrett and the rest of the youngsters will be here to see this thing out.
If a trade for Donovan Mitchell, Damian Lillard or any other star of that magnitude were to happen, it’d likely require the Knicks to throw in Barrett as a sweetener. Of all of the young talent on the Knicks, Barrett’s star is the brightest so he’d be the player the other teams want.
On the other hand, his salary is so low right now, putting up a name like Julius Randle or Evan Fournier could be a possibility. There’s a long summer ahead for the Knicks and if they want to win the fans back, they’ll need to make some big moves.