New York Knicks: What’s next in RJ Barrett’s development?

RJ Barrett, NY Knicks. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
RJ Barrett, NY Knicks. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks, RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett, Reggie Bullock, Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /

When you look back on where the league was with RJ Barrett this time last year, the transformation has been startling

The boost in the Knicks‘ 20-year-old slasher’s raw stats that came from his rookie to sophomore year is something to be expected, but just the way looks on the floor. The man has busted his hump to get to where he is, and he’s playing the best basketball of his life.

The biggest question mark last season was this:  “Can RJ become a reliable 3-point shooter.”

In a league where non-shooters are hardly in the cards for winning basketball teams, especially when it comes to permitter players, Barrett’s development into a star seemed to depend heavily on his ability to make open threes. That’s been the biggest achievement of his second season in the league. This year, Barrett has shot 107 of 268 from downtown on a 39% clip, as well as 41% from the corners.

The jumper was questionable coming into the league, but there was always hope that it could improve. That’s one thing scouts have always known about R.J. Barrett; his relentless work ethic.

"“His biggest strength is his will to win. You can tell when he’s playing that he really hates losing. From all reports, his work ethic is also apparently fantastic. The best example of his “will to win” is his FIBA play where he led Canada to a gold medal (including a big win against the US team,)” – Sportsnet New York"

He has worked to improve. This isn’t just a sophomore player getting more touches or better acclimating to the NBA game, this is the result of thousands of hours of work, and that speaks to Barrett’s character. He’s one of those guys that whatever the ceiling of his potential is, we’re going to see it. He’ll make sure we do.

Now that Barrett’s biggest flaw is behind him, the question remains “what’s next?” Barrett’s excellence has been widely celebrated, and rightly so, but he’s far from a finished product or a complete player. So what’s next on the horizon?  What more can RJ Barrett add to his game?  And what can we hope to see him improve in the coming months?