NY Knicks: 3 Memorable RJ Barrett Moments Since The Trade Deadline

RJ Barrett, NY Knicks (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
RJ Barrett, NY Knicks (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The headline virtually says it all here. Three moments since the deadline point to the idea that The NY Knicks are becoming RJ Barrett’s team.

Yes, Julius Randle is getting headlines and deserves accolades. The team would not be a playoff contender without him.

And you cannot underestimate the impact Tom Thibodeau has had on the team’s success this year.

Think of the Knicks like a cheeseburger. Thibodeau is your favorite sauce. Randle is your favorite fixing.

But, RJ Barrett? He’s the patty, and I’ve argued my whole life that the best cheeseburgers don’t need a sauce or fixings. A great patty is all you really need. RJ Barrett is becoming a great patty.

There have been a few key moments since the trade deadline where RJ Barrett has started to assert that the New York Knicks are his team.

NY Knicks: RJ Moment 1 – Ignite the Run

On March 25th, the trade deadline came and went with no major additions. We all madly refreshed Twitter until 3 p.m. eastern time before realizing that the squad we had was the squad we were rolling with.

Fast forward a few hours to the Knicks game against the Wizards.

With the Knicks down 78-65 and the third quarter winding down, Immanuel Quickley missed a three. RJ Barrett grabbed the offensive rebound and put it in as time expired. He walked back toward the sideline absolutely juiced.

The team stormed back and won 106-102. RJ Barrett finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.

Maybe RJ was just letting us know the Knicks really didn’t need to make any other moves at the deadline.

NY Knicks: RJ Barrett Moment 2 – Three from Free

We jump ahead to Friday, April 9th. The Knicks had lost five of their last six games and appeared to be headed to another loss in a rare game where both Julius Randle and RJ Barrett underperformed.

That was until RJ Barrett drew a foul on a three-point shot with 37 seconds left. The career 67% free throw shooter according to Basketball-Reference stepped up and hit three free throws to tie the game.

In fact, RJ Barrett scored 15 of his 20 total points in the 4th Quarter and overtime, per The New York Post.

The Knicks needed to rely on someone to stop the skid and they turned to RJ Barrett.

NY Knicks: RJ Barrett Moment 3 – Call Game From The Corner

One game later, the Raptors came to the Garden. These are the kinds of games the Knicks have got to win if they are going to be a playoff team. The outcome was back and forth and came down to the wire.

Where would the Knicks turn?

The rule of threes says you already know the answer to this.

With 36.3 seconds left in the 4th Quarter, the Knicks led 95-94. Julius Randle drove on Malachi Flynn. Pascal Siakam left RJ Barrett in the corner to help close the driving lane. Randle dished and Barrett splashed. (Splashed a shot I recommend he should start taking more of, by the way.)

The Knicks would go on to win 102-96.

So what does it all mean, Basil?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about who deserved the ball in the clutch.

In that piece, I ruled out RJ Barrett being the guy to take shots when it mattered because as of that writing he was only averaging 42.4% from the floor and 52.9% from the line in clutch moments. In just two weeks, RJ Barrett’s numbers are up to 52.2% from the floor, 58.3% from three, and 73.3% from the line.

Sure, the three examples I came up with were against the Wizards, Grizzlies, and Raptors, so you’d like to see him have these clutch moments against an elite team or two, but the point still remains:

The Knicks are becoming RJ Barrett’s team when it matters.

Next. Do The Knicks have a shot at Kawhi Leonard?. dark