The NBA offseason can often be a hectic time to be a basketball fan. Free agency signings, overnight trade demands, big-time extensions, and the NBA Draft all contribute to making the offseason an exciting yet stressful stretch for fans to look forward to. However, this has not been the case for fans of the New York Knicks this summer. There has been no draft, there has been no summer league, no big names in free agency, or even trade rumors which have all been a staple of a good ol’ Knicks offseason in the past.
Besides the small moves of Donte DiVincenzo coming in and Obi Toppin heading out, there has been nothing new for this Knicks roster. Whether or not this is the right move the Knicks front office has shown their hand to fans of the team, a successful 2023-24 NBA season will rely on the development of our current players.
Within the current roster, none are more important to the future of this franchise than the Knicks’ three best players, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Jalen Brunson. The Knicks front office has put their faith in these three players and it will be up to them to prove them right or not.
1. Consistency is key for RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett has had an up-and-down career with the New York Knicks thus far. He has shown both the flashes of something potentially great, as well as the red flags of yet another Knicks draft disappointment.
In Barrett’s defense, heading into his fifth season, his inconsistent play is consistent with his inconsistent role. When he was drafted 3rd overall to an otherwise lackluster team, it seemed RJ Barrett would be walking into a rebuild as the team’s main cornerstone.
A season later, RJ had to take a clear backseat to the rise of Julius Randle as they headed into the team’s first playoff appearance in many seasons. Fast forward two seasons later, and he is now the clear third option on a team with two All-Star-level talents.
Going into his fifth season, the lack of offseason moves will mean some consistency in terms of RJ Barrett’s role, which is something he must take advantage of. A successful season for RJ Barrett needs more than just counting stats.
The key for RJ is his efficiency. In his four seasons in the NBA, Barrett’s career-high field-goal percentage was 44%. That is a number that will have to increase for RJ Barrett to become a truly threatening third option in the league. It would show a new level to RJ’s game and make the lives of Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson easier.