$120 Million Star Dubbed Knicks ‘Biggest Question’

rj barrett

Getty RJ Barrett is deemed the team's biggest question mark so far.

The New York Knicks didn’t make a trade for Donovan Mitchell over the summer, and on the day it was announced the Cavaliers would be acquiring him, an RJ Barrett extension went public.

His contract extension offers him $107 million guaranteed, but it can pay upwards of $120 million. It’s a nice chunk of change for the fourth-year guard, and he becomes the first first-round pick since Charlie Ward to sign an extension with the team, which is an amazing feat on its own.

While all of that is good, Barrett will need to show a bit more on the floor if he wants to prove himself worthy of this contract. His third year was his best one yet, but it looks like he’s taken a step back in his fourth.

He’s averaging 18.3 points per game, but he’s shooting just 40.2 percent from the floor and 25.6 percent from beyond the arc. This is not good production from somebody who’s being paid like a star, let alone somebody who’s meant to be carrying the load offensively.

His early performance has him named the team’s “biggest question mark” by Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz, and it’s easy to see why.

Barrett Making a Leap?

Since he’s improved each year he’s been in the league, many fans expected Barrett to make another leap in his fourth season, but that just hasn’t happened yet. It has left Swartz wondering if that “star” leap will ever come.

“Perhaps this is what Barrett will always be,” he wrote. “A No. 3-ish option on a championship-level team who can help out in a number of areas but never truly be an All-Star or go-to scorer. If the Knicks want to become a true playoff threat, the growth of Barrett is likely the most important factor to their success.”

With Julius Randle looking solid to start the year and Jalen Brunson being worth every penny, Barrett’s slow start hasn’t had as much of an impact as it might’ve had otherwise.

Barrett is still young enough to get it all figured out, and he has shown flashes of it, but things haven’t all come together yet.

“The 22-year-old has shown flashes of being a gifted scorer and lockdown defender, yet in Year 4, he has yet to mold all of that potential into kinetic energy,” Swartz said.

Knicks Going on a Run?

The Knicks have been making some changes to the lineup lately, and the newest one sees Quentin Grimes getting no minutes at all. This comes after him being one of the big hangups in a Donovan Mitchell trade, so it’s all a bit surprising.

Then again, the Knicks have beaten two Western Conference playoff teams (at the moment) with the new lineup, so something’s working in their favor.

Brunson and Randle have been very solid, and even Cam Reddish looks rejuvenated since joining the starting lineup. The Knicks are still expected to only be a play-in team, but if they keep on the path they’ve been going as of late, they could surprise some people.

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