After an underwhelming 2021-22 campaign where they finished with their 17th losing season and 18th postseason-less campaign since the turn of the century, the New York Knicks find themselves heading into 2022-23 with a lot to prove.
As is the case for every team in the association, New York’s success will be heavily predicated on how effective their foundational pieces perform and, in a recent interview with KnicksFanTV, one of said players, RJ Barrett, is insinuating that we could see big things from him this year.
In the sit-down, host CP “The Franchise” mentioned how one of the wing’s goals for this season is to be named an All-Star and, when asked what he feels he needs to do to “get there” Barrett didn’t hold back on his confidence.
“I’m ready to get in the conversation. I’m ready to showcase what I can do,” Barrett said. “Every year I’ve been getting better, so there’s no better time than now.”
Later on, the 22-year-old went into depth about what Knicks fans can expect from him this year when it comes to the advancements he’s looking to include in his game.
“I’ve really been working on, just, stuff off the dribble, moves off the dribble, you know, being able to make shots off the dribble. And my finishing, you know, I think those two areas, being able to clean those up will help me and the team out along the way,” Barrett said.
With every passing season since being selected third overall back in the 2019 NBA Draft, Barrett has managed to up his numbers in numerous statistical categories, and, in 2021-22, he posted a career-high 20.0 points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
Perhaps by incorporating these new moves into his arsenal, the upward trajectory can continue in 2022-23.
Barrett Top-Ranked Knicks Player on ESPN List
Barrett’s not the only one who believes he could go on to take the next step this coming season, as ESPN recently slotted him in at 63 on their list of the top 100 players in the NBA.
Seeing a major bump up in the rankings after not even placing on the list for 2021-22, the wing currently finds himself viewed as the highest-rated Knicks player, with fellow teammates Mitchell Robinson (98), Julius Randle (71), and Jalen Brunson (67) all falling in line behind him.
However, even with his current standing, in the article, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps still believes that shooting consistency is going to be a major factor in Barrett living up to and possibly even surpassing his placement on the list.
“Two years ago, Barrett shot 40.1% from 3-point range. In his other two NBA seasons, Barrett shot 32% and 34%. The difference between Barrett becoming a high-end wing player or a solid starter is where those 3-point shooting numbers shake out over the long term. After giving him a big-money extension this summer, the Knicks will be banking on the high-end outcome coming to fruition,” Bontemps wrote.
Surprisingly, aside from being ahead of his Knicks cohorts, RJ Barrett also finds himself placed ahead of a perennial All-Star and All-NBA selectee currently residing in New York in Brooklyn Nets guard, Ben Simmons.
Exec Believes Thibodeau’s Days Are Numbered
An anonymous Eastern Conference general manager recently sat down with Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney and discussed how important this upcoming season is for Tom Thibodeau, insinuating that anything similar to the team’s and, frankly, his performance from last season could result in a parting of ways between him and the Knicks.
“There was a lot of question as to whether he would make it through last year after the way they fell apart and how undisciplined that team seemed at times,” the executive told Deveney.” He was very slow to change the rotation, things like that, and it rubbed people the wrong way. But Thibs is always consistent in his approach. It’ll be the same this year.
“His problem is, look at the East, and they’re 10th best. That is the best-case scenario if everyone is healthy around the East. They’re 10th. SO he could do the best possible job he can, finish 10th and still get fired. I’d say he will get fired if they finish 10th. It’s a tough spot.”
A two-time NBA Coach of the Year award winner with a career 57.2% winning percentage, Tom Thibodeau has proven himself to be one of the best headmen in the association throughout his 10-year tenure.
Unfortunately, however, should the Knicks flounder this season, it could ultimately lead to his third premature dismissal.