Knicks: Why not just run the offense through RJ Barrett?

RJ Barrett Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
RJ Barrett Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) ties up New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) for a jump ball during the second quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Lessons Learned: RJ Barrett’s Rookie Year

When you are the 3rd overall pick in the draft, you are being selected with the likelihood that you will become a cornerstone of an NBA franchise. RJ Barrett certainly gave fans hope that he could one day grow into that player.

RJ Barrett’s rookie season was filled with terrific highs and alarming lows. Some of those lows were due to RJ’s limitations as a player, but others were a direct result of the situation he was in.

Barrett may have been drafted to become the team’s franchise player, but the roster around him did not reflect that. While Barrett had some big games, for much of the season he was used as a complementary player.

Just because Barrett isn’t a point guard does not mean shouldn’t be getting a bulk of the touches on offense.

RJ Barrett was playing well down the stretch last season. In his last 13 games, Barrett averaged 16 points per game while shooting just under 44% from the field. This was in spite of getting fewer touches per game than Elfrid Payton, Julius Randle, Frank Ntilikina, and Bobby Portis in that stretch.

Without going into too much detail about last season’s roster, we know it was bad. It was a roster unfit for the modern NBA. Stuck in the middle of the madness, was a rookie RJ Barrett.

So what is a “Step in the right direction” for the Knicks this season? Really, it’s developing their young players and establishing a new team identity under Tom Thibodeau. The way they can accomplish this is by giving the keys to RJ Barrett.