New York Knicks fans got an unexpected treat during the second week of the offseason. On Friday morning, JJ Redick and Tommy Alter (co-hosts of The Old Man and the Three podcast) released an episode with guest RJ Barrett.
The podcast is known for bringing new light to the topic of basketball and the conversations with current NBA (and WNBA) players are nothing short of amazing.
Barrett isn’t known for saying a lot publicly, but when he does speak, Knicks fans hang onto every word that’s uttered from his mouth. New York’s season ended with a 37-45 record, but the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2019 brought a new sense of hope to the fanbase.
He reached this goal of finishing with an average of exactly 20 points per contest. Barrett elevated his game to a new level in 2022, averaging 23.6 points, 6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 41 games.
His performance is the reason why Knicks fans lifted his name to new heights and crowned Barrett as the face of the franchise. And based on what he said on the podcast, he’s going to live up to the standard that’s been set for him.
RJ Barrett has his sights set on becoming an All-Star for the Knicks next season.
New York had an All-Star during 2020-21 in Julius Randle but went without one in 2021-22. According to Barrett, he’ll be in Utah next February for the 71st NBA All-Star Game:
"“Next year, my goal, I feel like I can be an All-Star, or be in the conversation, which is obviously gonna come with winning, but I feel like I have the ability to. I always have,” he added."
When Barrett says something, he means it. That’s why he did exactly what he said after he texted his trainer Drew Hanlen last New York’s Eve that it was time to take over.
Knicks fans were standing proud behind Randle after he led the team to the playoffs in 2021, but that hope quickly evaporated at the start of this past season.
Barrett’s not only younger than Randle, but New York City’s the only NBA home that he’s known. The Knicks have a chance to sign their former lottery pick to an extension during the offseason to ensure that he won’t become a restricted free agent next summer.
As Redick mentioned on the podcast, if you can play for a team like the Knicks, Sixers, or Celtics, you can play anywhere. Barrett recently said that he doesn’t feel like playing in New York comes with a certain kind of pressure because he thinks that it’s fun. That’s the kind of player that the team needs.
At the age of 21, Knicks fans are in good hands with Barrett. His constant desire to get better is what’s going to land him his first (of many) All-Star nod next year.