NY Knicks: RJ Barrett and Evan Fournier balled out In January

RJ Barrett, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
RJ Barrett, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

The NY Knicks have been unable to turn their season around in the new year, going just 7-9 in 2022.

With the exception of their last game vs the Memphis Grizzlies, all of those games took place in January. While the team as a whole was not successful last month, RJ Barrett and Evan Fournier certainly were.

During the first month of the year, both players not only bounced back from rough stretches, but they also each had several dominant performances.

NY Knicks: Barrett and Founirer’s recent performance

Let’s first talk about Broadway Barrett. The third-year wing put together arguably the best month of his young career in which he averaged 21.8 PPG, 6 RPG, and 3.2 APG.

Barrett was getting to the rim at will, granting easy baskets for his teammates, and was consistently shooting efficiently on a high volume of shot attempts.

His totals for the month were 327 points, 90 rebounds, 48 assists, and 35 three-pointers made. The only other two players to have those numbers in a month aged 21 or younger: Luka Doncic and Anthony Edwards.

Lastly, the Knicks were 5-0 when RJ scored 26 or more points. He had back-to-back 30+ point performances on January 10th (31p) and 12th (32p) respectively, as well as another 32 point game on January 4th.

Now, moving on to Evan Fournier.

Fournier has been extremely disappointing for most of this season. Rarely has he shown how potent he can be offensively, as consistency has been the biggest knock against him.

It was in January though when Fournier finally found consistency in his overall scoring abilities. The shooting guard averaged 15.7 PPG shooting 46.7 FG% and a blistering 45.7% from deep.

Fournier’s problem this season was never his three-point abilities, but it clearly helped him have such a great month of basketball. That 45.7% was ranked the 5th best in the NBA among players with a minimum of 10 games played and 3 3PA.

And of players who attempted 100 threes, Fournier’s percentage ranked first.

The five highest-scoring games from Fournier were 20, 25, 27, 30, and 41 points.

On the surface, none of these averages for either player are anything crazy, Fournier’s sharpshooting aside.

But, they’re meaningful in their own ways. As I said, Barrett has never looked that good for that long. The fact that he managed to average over 20 points during a 15 game sample size with that efficiency all over the court is very impressive. Hopefully, this proves to be a permanent step in his development as a legitimate offensive star.

As for Fournier, this past month has done either one of two things: raised his trade value for this week’s deadline or given him a confidence boost for his potential Knicks’ future.

I assume you are familiar with some of Fournier’s comments about adjusting to a smaller role on offense and being more of an off-ball player. It was easy to assume he may struggle a bit at first having come to New York after spending almost 7 seasons as a lead option in Orlando.

Sadly, those struggles persisted and were even evident still during some of his January appearances. Also, I assume you’re aware that the Knicks reportedly are willing and looking to move on from Fournier, in addition to Kemba Walker and Alec Burks.

If he remains a Knick past February 10th, then maybe the progress he’s made these last four weeks leads to better days ahead.

And if he is dealt away, then that should be because a team was encouraged by his recent shooting and scoring displays and valued him highly enough to add him for a good price.

All in all, the great results that January bared for RJ Barrett and Evan Fournier is something to point to when evaluating how the NY Knicks can be on their way towards a brighter future in both the short and long term.

Next. Fournier should have a bigger role. dark