New York Knicks: Predicting the opening night starting lineup for 2019-20

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RJ Barrett

There is always a case for rookies to take a backseat and learn in their first season. That is not like the NFL in not playing, but taking a role off the bench to ease into the NBA. The New York Knicks are not in a position for that, given their recent woes, so as they figure out long-term pieces, RJ Barrett should join the starting lineup immediately.

The Duke product was made the third overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. Typically, players selected that high take a main role. So, even if he needed time to develop, the Knicks will inevitably throw him into the fire and see how he plays.

Besides that, Barrett fits into the middle of the starting lineup for New York. Whether as the “two” or the “three,” since the NBA is trending towards mostly positionless play, he has the 6-foot-7 frame for this, can handle the basketball and find ways to score from all over the court, even with some inconsistencies.

Perhaps Barrett does not start all 82 games, and not just due to injury. Fizdale might slide him back for a game or two if the typical rookie struggles arise. If not, and this 19 year old plays up to high pick expectations, it will make him an NBA Rookie of the Year candidate.

Barrett will benefit off receiving passes from Elfrid Payton. Veterans are around to help, as well, including the plethora of players signed in the offseason with more than four years of experience. It will still be a transition, but the future is bright.