Knicks legend Carmelo Anthony gets brutally honest about RJ Barrett's game

Melo talked about RJ Barrett on his podcast with The Kid Mero.
New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony
New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony / Rich Graessle/GettyImages

If you're a New York Knicks fan who loves Carmelo Anthony and RJ Barrett, you might feel a little conflicted at the moment. Less than two weeks ago, the Knicks traded Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Raptors for OG Anunoby, a move that's played in both teams' favor.

Anunoby is a much better fit in New York than Barrett, which isn't a knock on Barrett. He isn't a good off-ball player, while Anunoby is, which has helped to open up the offense for players like Julius Randle. Anunoby is still finding his way offensively, which was expected. As for Barrett, he's averaging 21.8 points per game in an offense that's more suited for him.

Barrett's no stranger to criticism. He spent the first four and a half years of his NBA career in New York, for crying out loud. However, hearing what Melo had to say about the former Knick on his podcast 7PM in Brooklyn with The Kid Mero was unexpected.

Carmelo Anthony says RJ Barrett is "just a bland player"

Melo specifically said he wasn't taking a shot at Barrett or being disrespectful, although it could certainly come across that way. He also referred to Barrett's personality as bland, which does seem like a stretch, especially based on what's been said about the forward off the court.

However, Anthony wasn't necessarily wrong in his evaluation of Barrett's game. He didn't evolve into the player the Knicks thought he'd be when he was drafted No. 3 overall in 2019. He seemed okay with taking a backseat role rather than being a standout. As New York fans know, his inconsistency was an issue. Before Barrett was traded, he was struggling.

Like Randle and Jalen Brunson, Barrett likes to operate with the ball in his hands, as Melo said. Anunoby doesn't need to have the ball in his hands as an off-ball player, but seeing him be more aggressive on the offensive end would be nice.

Melo's comments shouldn't be taken negatively, but maybe bland wasn't the best word to use regarding Barrett's game and personality. Anthony was straightforward and laid out his case for why he feels that way. It came off a bit harsh, but it doesn't seem that was Melo's intention.

If anything, Barrett will use it as fuel. He's a professional, so he can take it!