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For RJ Barrett, The Reality Of New York Is Starting To Hit

And that’s not always a good thing

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NBA: Summer League-New York Knicks at Washington Wizards
Jul 13, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) looks to pass the ball away from Washington Wizards guard Corey Davis (40) during the second half of an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. 
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Well he did say he wanted New York...RJ Barrett hasn’t played a single official game for the Knicks yet but he’s already getting the business that you get as an athlete in the city (he can ask Daniel Jones about it).

YouTuber Nick Hauselman has a mixed opinion. He thinks he’ll be solid but not great, at least not yet.

But we’re not sure what to think about his take. For one thing, he says Duke has been running a lot of 2-3. Well they did the year before Barrett showed up and Duke had a lot of great defenders. Duke played some zone but last year the man-to-man D was really good. What would you do with Barrett, Cam Reddish, Zion Williamson and Tre Jones?

The big rap on Barrett has been his shooting. We’ll see how that works out in the league but last year at Duke, with limited offensive output (Barrett and Williamson averaged 22.6 points each last year while Reddish kicked in 13.5 ppg, which works out to 58.7 of Duke’s 83.5. That’s about 70% of Duke’s total output). That makes it a lot easier to make Barrett look like a bad shooter, especially when Williamson was so overwhelming around the basket.

Another way to look at is this: despite teams knowing that Duke only had two consistent offensive threats, Barrett was still effective.

For all the talk about Barrett’s shooting, there wasn’t much attention paid to the fact that he nearly pulled a triple double in summer play.

The truth is that when evaluating players a lot of times people just don’t know until they know. Last year Luka Doncic was too slow. Steph Curry was too small - look how many teams passed on him. People once thought Larry Bird was too slow.

Michael Jordan was the third pick the year he was drafted. St. Louis traded Bill Russell before he ever played a game.

We know what we saw at Duke: a smart, tough, team player who knows how to win and who has guts.

The main thing to listen to now is his New York teammates. They seem impressed and they have the most insight. We’ll see how things work out when the season actually starts.

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