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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Knicks, RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett, Kyrie Irving, Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Knicks: RJ Barrett’s ball-handling development will be key

Barrett has a unique creative style centered around using his strength to bully smaller guards and using push-crossed and hesitations to get bigger wings off balance. This has been effective for him, but he still has a long way to go on the road to becoming a strong iso-scorer.

Barrett is averaging around one isolation possession a game right now. In which he’s shooting 43% and generating around 0.8 points per.  While the sample size is small, he’s actually on par with the likes of James Harden and Bam Adebayo in terms of efficiency.

The difference is the quantity. Barrett’s isolation game right now is totally selective, meaning he only uses it against favorable matchups. It’s not like James Harden who sometimes gets to embarrass some poor center on a switch and sometimes has to figure out how to get by Kawhi.

The key to Barrett becoming a more effective iso scorer is getting lower in his dribble stance. He has a strong array of moves and good instincts for how to attack and get by defenders, but with a high dribble and an upright stance, Barrett isn’t getting the burst he could be in straight on attacks or the dynamic shifts he could be pulling side-to-side.

It’s how creators like Harden and Kyrie can accelerate so quickly in the half-court. Watch those guys run on fast breaks. They’re not that fast end-to-end, but foot speed and acceleration are two entirely different things. If Barrett can get his dribble lower, it’ll make him faster and trickier and turn him from a selective iso scorer to a reliable option with the game on the line.