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RJ Barrett Is Better In The Playoffs Than You May Realize

The former Blue Devil has a habit of upping his game in the post-season

2023 NBA Playoffs - Miami Heat v New York Knicks
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 2: Gabe Vincent #2 of the Miami Heat is defended by RJ Barrett #9 during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals 2023 NBA Playoffs on May 2, 2023 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. 
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

You kind of have to feel for RJ Barrett at times.

When he was drafted in 2018, Knicks fans were dreaming of getting the #1 draft pick, which would have been Zion Williamson. Couldn’t they at least have the #2 pick, which was Ja Morant?

Instead, the Knicks fell to the third pick, which they used on Barrett, who quickly said that it was his dream team and he was thrilled to be a Knick.

For a long time, regretful columns were posted about how everyone liked Barrett, but...

You get the drift.

Now, Williamson has been injury prone and Morant lately has been a major headache for the Memphis Grizzlies.

And Barrett?

He’s been durable and reliable. He’s still gotten his share of criticism, because during the season, his offense was erratic.

In the playoffs though, it’s been a different matter.

Barrett had a poor Game 1 against Cleveland (and heard about it) but otherwise has played very well.

According to Tommy Beer on Twitter, through 12 playoff games, “Barrett is averaging 17.4 points, 5.8 rebs, 3.3 assists and 1.7 three-pointers.

Full list of players to match or exceed those averages in their first 12 postseasons games before turning 23:

LeBron James

Luka Doncic

Donovan Mitchell

But that’s not all.

Barrett’s defense has been brilliant. The NBA’s defensive player of the year, Jaren Jackson, Jr., earned a defensive rating of 106.6.

Barrett’s was 117.7 - and he’s gotten better during the playoffs.

There’s a lot more here, so you’ll want to read the details. The bottom line though is pretty irrefutable: Barrett is a winner and he has a chance to help make the Knicks, finally, relevant again.