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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RJ Barrett, Knicks
RJ Barrett, Knicks. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Knicks: The areas where RJ Barrett can refine his scoring

It’s interesting, RJ’s greatest strength in scoring the ball coming into the league was his ability to slash to the rim, and while his creation and strength are still elite, he has work to do as far as completing his drives.

While Barrett’s efficiency has vastly improved this year, he’s still a tick below league average in field goal percentage at 45%. Now, ironically he’s risen above league average from downtown. His 39% from three compares favorably to the average 37%, but it’s his moves inside the arc that are now the softer option when it comes to scoring the ball.

From 0-3 feet from the rim Barrett’s scoring is really quite good. He takes about a third of his shots from right at the cup and is shooting a strong 62% from there. Where things get dicey is when he extends his finishing range. In the 3-10 foot range, Barrett shoots only 32% from the field which makes his floater and in-between game pretty much moot. The same can be said for his mid-range pull-ups where he’s still far below efficient at 34%.

Granted efficiency is bound to droop the further a player is from the basket, but not this much this fast.  One might look at the stats and the way basketball is trending and think, “Good!  I don’t want RJ Barrett taking those mid-range shots. The most efficient attempts are layups and threes, why even bother?” And while layups and threes are Barrett’s bread and butter, if New York is grooming him for stardom then those in-between areas of the floor become vital to his scoring generation.

His particular slashing style of stop and go, power, and trickery over blinding speed also leans heavily on the threat of pulling up from mid. If Barrett can improve his scoring from the mid-range, it will unlock his ability to get in close and improve his shots at the rim as well.