After being selected with the third overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, RJ Barrett had a beginner season up and down. He had some efficiency problems due to lack of space, shooting only 40.2% from the field. However, it showed the legitimate potential of being a 20+ ppg marker.
Barrett has played 13 games in which he has scored 20 or more points, three of which have come in the last 10 games he has appeared in. He also took five rebounds per game, while showing impressive flashes of elite passes.
What stood out most in Barrett was his ability to create his own shot and reach the free throw line. Only 35% of its two-point field goals were assisted. He also scored an average of 4.5 free throw attempts per game, tied with Ja Morant for the highest beginner score this season.
In Tom Thibodeau’s last full season, he led the Timberwolves to a record 47-35 as he posted the fourth highest offensive score in the league. Despite this top five, Minnesota led the league in two points scored on the pitch while finishing 18th in total assists. Additionally, that 2017-18 Timberwolves team finished third in free throws and fifth in free throws.
It is clear that Thibodeau relies heavily on players who can create offense and reach the charity bracket, something that RJ Barrett has shown he can do as a 19-year-old boy. It is not difficult to imagine that RJ makes a huge leap in his second year while playing in an offense that caters to his strengths.
While Thibodeau has been criticized for his tendency to push players, Barrett appears to have a desire to match his intensity.