RJ Barrett of the NY Knicks is having perhaps the best month of basketball of his young career, building on what has already been a particularly strong sophomore season.
Through 10 games in the month of March, Barrett is averaging 21.1ppg (on 49.1% shooting and 34.4% from three) to go along with 3.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game.
His improvement is becoming more and more noticeable with every game he plays, and it’s that improvement – specifically on the offensive end – that I want to take a deeper dive into with this article.
NY Knicks’ sophomore RJ Barrett is growing up before our eyes!
It’s not unfair to say that RJ Barrett had an unspectacular rookie season for the Knicks a year ago.
While he put up respectable figures across the board – 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists – his efficiency and poor shooting is what let him down as he shot 40% from the field, 32% from three, and just 61% from the free-throw line.
It was these figures, compounded by the fact the Knicks were objectively terrible last year, that resulted in him being left off of the All-Rookie teams in favor of Terrance Davis, Brandon Clarke, Eric Paschall, and Rui Hachimura.
It’s worth pointing out that despite an up-and-down rookie year RJ began to trend in an upwards direction with a really strong month of March, before his and the Knicks’ season was ultimately cut short after 56 games.
It was a strong end to his rookie year in which he averaged 18.7 points (on 44.8%, 33.3% from three, and 75.8% from the FT line) while also dishing out 3.3 assists per game.
Sure, it was just a 6 game sample size, but it was an early demonstration of his increasing comfort and incredible will-at-all-costs mindset at the NBA level.
After a lengthy off-season break due to the pandemic, Barrett started his sophomore season with a poor December month in which he shot an ice-cold 12.5% from deep.
That cold start coupled with the 56 game sample size from a year ago was enough for some critics to doubt Barrett’s merits as a top prospect, some even writing him off.
But maybe passing judgment on a raw but talented 20-year-old before they even play a full season of NBA basketball is a little misguided…
RJ Barrett looks to be proving that this year, and we’re going to take a look at how over the following slides: