Monday, September 26, 2022

RJ Barrett sends a powerful message to Knicks fans

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After a stunning 2021-22 season that ended with their 17th lost season and 18th seasonless campaign since the turn of the century, the New York Knicks go into the 2022-23 season with a lot to prove.

As with every team in the association, New York’s success will depend heavily on how effectively their foundational plays perform and in a recent interview with KnicksFanTV one of those players, RJ Barrett, hints we could see big things from him in this year.

At the session, host CP The Franchise mentioned that one of the wing’s goals for this season is to be named an All-Star, and when asked what he thinks he needs to do to “get there,” Barrett did not hold back his confidence.

“I’m ready to have a conversation. I’m ready to show what I can do,” Barrett said. “Every year I’ve gotten better, so there’s no better time than now.”

The 22-year-old later went into detail about what Knicks fans can expect from him this year when it comes to the advancements he hopes to incorporate into his game.

“I’ve been really working on just plugging the dribble, moving the dribble, you know, being able to make shots out of the dribble. And my finishing, you know, I think those two areas, being able to clean those up is going to help me and the team along the way,” Barrett said.

Each season since being selected third overall in the 2019 NBA draft, Barrett has managed to increase his numbers in numerous statistical categories, and in 2021-22 he posted a career-high 20.0 points per game, along with 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

Perhaps by adding these new moves to its arsenal, the 2022-23 uptrend can continue.

Barrett isn’t the only one who thinks he could make the next step in the upcoming season, as ESPN recently ranked him 63rd on their list of the NBA’s 100 Greatest Players.

The wing, who has seen a big rise in the rankings after not even being included on the 2021-22 list, is currently regarded as the highest-rated Knicks player, along with teammates Mitchell Robinson (98), Julius Randle (71 ) and Jalen Brunson (67) joins behind him.

Despite his current standing, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps still believes in the article that shot consistency will be a major factor in Barrett living up to and potentially surpassing his placement on the list.

“Two years ago, Barrett was shooting 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 winger or a solid starter is where those 3-point shot counts pay off over the long term. Having been granted a big-money extension this summer, the Knicks will be betting on the high-end result to play out,” wrote Bontemps.

Surprisingly, in addition to being ahead of his Knicks cohorts, RJ Barrett also finds himself ahead of a perennial All-Star and All-NBA pick currently residing in New York in Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons.

An anonymous Eastern Conference general manager recently sat down with Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney and spoke about how important this upcoming season is for Tom Thibodeau, hinting that something similar to the team’s and, frankly, its performance is off last season could see him and the Knicks parting ways.

“There were a lot of questions about whether he was going to make it last year after they fell apart and how undisciplined that team seemed at times,” the manager told Deveney. “He was very slow to change rotations, things like that, and it rubbed people in the wrong direction. But Thibs is always consistent in his approach. It will be the same this year.

“His problem is, look east and they’re tenth best. That’s the best scenario if everyone in the east is healthy. You are 10. SO he could do the best job possible, finish 10th and still get fired. I’d say he gets fired if they finish tenth. It’s a tough spot.”

Tom Thibodeau, a two-time NBA Coach of the Year award winner with a 57.2% career win rate, has proven to be one of the association’s top headmen during his 10-year tenure.

However, should the Knicks sadly fail this season, it could ultimately lead to his third early layoff.

“His problem is, look east and they’re tenth best. That’s the best scenario if everyone in the east is healthy. You are 10. SO he could do the best job possible, finish 10th and still get fired. I’d say he gets fired if they finish tenth. It’s a tough spot.”

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