Knicks: The 5 most important preseason stats fans need to know

RJ Barrett, Knicks.: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
RJ Barrett, Knicks.: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 10, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) blocks the shot of New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) in the fourth quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

2) RJ Barrett’s Field Goal Percentage in the Restricted Area

One of the most encouraging things about RJ Barrett’s up-and-down rookie season was his consistent aggressiveness attacking the basket and getting to the rim. According to Cleaning The Glass, 48% of his shot attempts came at the rim, good for the 92nd percentile among wings. But, almost like Newton’s third law, for every positive aspect of Barrett’s game, there was an equal and opposite negative. His accuracy around the rim left much to be desired, landing him in the 22nd percentile among wing scorers.

Did some of that have to do with the utter lack of spacing surrounding Barrett his rookie year? Sure:

But, it’s not like the Knicks are exactly swimming in shooters this season, either. That’s why it was encouraging to see Barrett look so good during preseason where he connected on 17 of his 24 attempts in the restricted area (70.8%). Coming into year two, he looks stronger, more confident and seems to have improved his touch around the basket

Perhaps just as important, Barrett has been running the floor and getting easy buckets before defenses have an opportunity to get set. As noted by Tommy Beer of Forbes, RJ led the Knicks this preseason with five fast break points per game, something he’ll need to continue once the games begin to matter.

Improving his accuracy at the rim is probably the easiest way for Barrett to increase his efficiency and his overall value as a player. Well, maybe second-easiest…