New York Knicks: RJ Barrett can cement himself as an NBA rising star

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
RJ Barrett, New York Knicks. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks: RJ Barrett proving doubters wrong

It’s always felt like a war of attrition between RJ Barrett doubt and RJ Barrett optimism. Back and forth, chunks of evidence providing “truth” to however you predict his NBA career will turn out.

Maybe it’s because he plays for the New York Knicks, but it feels as though Barrett has been put under a microscope more than most prospects his age.

Being a New York Knick is part of those expectations. It’s also his personal story and draft class.

Barrett was the top high school basketball prospect in both his junior and senior years of high school, a very rare feat.

The Canadian showed out in the FIBA U19 world championships where he dominated against Team USA and went on to have a high-profile freshman year at Duke.

Fast-forward to his draft, and there are some players drafted behind him who are also succeeding in the NBA. Players like Tyler Herro, Darius Garland, and Jordan Poole have all had similar, if not a higher level of success thus far in the NBA.

There is little patience for year-to-year development in today’s NBA draft. It feels as though players who come into the league with high-level guard skills that translate into scoring — dribble combos, shooting off the dribble, players with a “bag” are anointed much earlier than players who flash in other areas.

That certainly seems to ring true with the other players listed above. While you can make an argument that those players (I’d personally just say Darius Garland) are a clear step above Barrett today, it feels more and more like Barrett’s ceiling is something special.

Barrett is the 2nd youngest player on the New York Knicks.

It’s not just in his numbers right now, it’s watching his confidence and growth on the court. There has been a lot to talk about in the evolution of Barrett’s game as of late, but there are some key areas where he’s really made a leap.