RJ Barrett got off to a tumultuous start to his second campaign, hitting the slump of the second year early but shaking it off in recent matches. His averages currently stand at 17.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game on shooting intervals at 39.5 / 21.5 / 75.3 percent.
Between his college and NBA careers, comparisons for Barrett varied enormously. James Harden mentions were in abundance among Barrett’s staunchest defenders, and names like DeMar DeRozan and Jalen Rose were left by those least impressed with his resume. In fact, he’s on his way to becoming the next Jimmy Butler, and Knicks fans should be extremely excited about that prospect.
Upcoming manager Tom Thibodeau’s plan is not easy to master and requires a level of IQ and commitment that few second year players could successfully bring. It is no coincidence that another young winger, Butler, managed to thrive under the same system and leader. Barrett stays seated, rotates effectively, reduces the mistakes he made last year, and protects one to four reliably.
Barrett’s improvements are everywhere, the impact on his Knicks in those areas, and the model for Barrett to become an All-Star continues to become Jimmy Butler of New York.