Knicks’ RJ Barrett excluded from Bleacher Report’s top young stars list

Because we’re in the dull part of the NBA offseason, Bleacher Report decided to rank the best young stars from the previous five drafts to build around. The New York Knicks selected RJ Barrett with the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but the 22-year-old wasn’t included in the list of the 10 players.

This shouldn’t come as a shock to Knicks fans because Barrett hasn’t received a lot of national attention. He elevated his game to the next level in the second half of last season, averaging 23.6 points, six rebounds, and 3.5 assists in the 41 games that the team played in 2022. And for the first time in his three-year career, Barrett averaged 20 points for the season.

With Donovan Mitchell trade rumors floating around, SNY’s Ian Begley reported that New York doesn’t have an interest in sending the wing to the Utah Jazz. Barrett’s due for an extension, and the Knicks’ reluctance to trade him proves that the organization believes that he’s going to play an integral part of the future.

However, that hasn’t prevented him from being labeled as ‘not good enough’, which resulted in him being left off Bleacher Report’s list.

Bleacher Report leaves Knicks’ RJ Barrett off best NBA young stars list

Before diving into the top 10, Bleacher Report listed an honorable mention for the No. 11-15 spots. Barrett wasn’t included in that section, but his name was briefly mentioned as someone who had received consideration for an honorable mention spot.

It should be noted that Donovan Mitchell was listed at No. 11, so he narrowly missed out on being in the top 10. Cade Cunningham, Darius Garland, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Tyrese Haliburton rounded out the remaining honorable mention spots. Let’s take a look at who made the top 10:

  1. Luka Doncic
  2. Jayson Tatum
  3. Ja Morant
  4. Trae Young
  5. Zion Williamson
  6. Anthony Edwards
  7. Evan Mobley
  8. LaMelo Ball
  9. Bam Adebayo
  10. Scottie Barnes

Edwards, Mobley, and Barnes are the only three that haven’t been received the honor of being named an All-Star, although all three made an appearance at All-Star weekend this past February in the Rising Stars Game.

Admittedly, when you look at the top 10, it makes sense as to why Barrett wasn’t included, but you could make a case for him to be included somewhere between 11 and 15. The Knicks have been clear with their intentions to build around Barrett as the face of their franchise, but their poor performance last season didn’t allow for much positive light to be shed on Barrett.

Based on the moves that New York’s made so far during the offseason, the front office has shifted the focus to the team’s youth. The addition of Jalen Brunson will provide a huge boost to Barrett’s game as well.

The Knicks don’t have high expectations for 2022-23 in a stacked Eastern Conference, but many expect this to be the season where Barrett officially takes over.

Bleacher Report should probably go ahead and plan to make room for RJ on next offseason’s list, don’t you think?