For The NY Knicks, when the chips are in the middle of the table and you need a bucket, Tom Thibodeau should put the ball in the hands of one man – RJ Barrett.
The 20-year-old has ice in his veins. He’s consistently The Knicks’ most clutch player. Friday’s win against the Memphis Grizzlies should only affirm that Barrett should be the team’s go-to in winning time.
With a strong game-tying lay-up to tie the game and the dagger three-pointer in overtime, the former third overall pick has the clutch gene that makes Madison Square Garden go wild. In only his second season, his ability to stay calm in a game’s zenith is unbelievably impressive.
I guess we shouldn’t be shocked by it – Barrett was famously clutch at Duke University as well. In a March Madness game against the University of Central Florida, he saved his teammate, Zion Williamson – rebounding and scoring the go-ahead bucket off his missed free throw.
NY Knicks: RJ Barrett or Julius Randle: Who should get the ball in crunch time?
While his teammate, Julius Randle, has been tremendous this season – he’s missed far more clutch shots than he’s made. Some players just don’t have that clutch gene – not to disparage Randle in favor of Barrett, but it’s something he lacks that his teammate does not.
The NY Knicks’ biggest problem all season long has been their inability to win the close game. In the game’s waning moments, far too often they’ve been on the other side of their opponent’s clutch buckets.
If they’re to make a run in the postseason, the team is going to need to get those game-winning buckets when the tension is the highest. Barrett’s ability to shut the noise out, get to the hoop, and get a good shot is invaluable for the team.
NY Knicks: It’s time to stop the disrespect of RJ Barrett
After being left off ESPN’s Top 25 Under 25 list, the blatant disrespect for Barrett’s play has never been more prevalent. As he continues to show off his skills in the city that never sleeps, the basketball world needs to stop sleeping on him.
Experts predicted Thibodeau’s tough coaching style would rub young players the wrong way – Barrett’s not only proven that notion wrong, but he could end up being the coach’s finest piece of work. Already excelling and just scratching the surface of his potential, the sky’s the limit for the Knicks’ young star.
He’s already the NY Knicks’ most clutch player – it may not be long before he’s the Knicks’ best player.