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Former Blue Devil RJ Barrett Is Surging

The former Duke star just keeps getting better

NBA: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks
Oct 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) controls the ball against New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When people talk about RJ Barrett’s NBA progress, the focus tends to be on offense because as a rookie, his offense was, let’s face it, hit or miss.

All offense is hit or miss but he just didn’t shoot well.

He’s been correcting and improving that consistently which gets a lot of attention.

He’s always been a better-than-average defender but he’s improved there too.

Take New York’s opening win over the Boston Celtics and fellow Brotherhood member Jayson Tatum, keeping in mind that no one has ever had any doubts about Tatum’s offense.

When he guarded Tatum, Barrett held the rising star to 1-6 on threes and 3-16 overall (Tatum finished 7-30 overall and 2-15 on threes for 20 points).

Barrett scored 19 on 6-11 overall and 3-7 on threes.