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#pounditMonday, February 6, 2023

Articles tagged: RJ Barrett

Video: RJ Barrett beats Celtics with buzzer-beater

RJ Barrett shoots

The New York Knicks completed a comeback against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night, and it was RJ Barrett who delivered the final knockout punch.

The Knicks were taking out the ball in a 105-105 game with 1.5 seconds left. They inbounded to Barrett, who was well-defended. Despite the tough coverage, Barrett got a shot off and made it to win the game.

That counted as a 3-pointer and gave the Knicks a 108-105 win.

Not only was the degree of difficulty for the shot very high, but Barrett was only 3/14 in the game prior to making that shot, so he had been struggling.

If Barrett was the hero, then Evan Fournier was the big star for the Knicks. Fournier shot 15/25 for 41 points and went 10/14 on threes to help the comeback.

The Knicks trailed by 25 in the second quarter and by 20 in the third quarter. Fournier helped keep them in the game, and then Barrett delivered the winning shot.

Knicks open to RJ Barrett trade?

RJ Barrett

The New York Knicks just made the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. But they could be aggressive this summer in trying to find a piece to really put them over the top.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports this week that Knicks swingman RJ Barrett is not seen as untouchable in a trade for a superstar. The Knicks are said to be eyeing Portland star Damian Lillard as one potential target.

Barrett only recently turned 21 and had a very strong sophomore season. He averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game on 40.1 percent from three. Barrett was also remarkably durable, starting in all 72 games for the Knicks.

That said, the Knicks may be looking for a true No. 1 scoring option in the backcourt. Be it Lillard or this other star guard, it sounds like they are willing to fork over some quality young talent to get it.

Photo: Flickr/All-Pro Reels via cc-by-sa 2.0

RJ Barrett responds to shade from Anthony Edwards

RJ Barrett

One young NBA phenom is taking some time to hit back at another.

RJ Barrett and the New York Knicks faced off against Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves last week. The Knicks lost by one point when Barrett missed a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer. After the game, Edwards spoke candidly about how happy he was to see Barrett, instead of Knicks teammate Julius Randle, taking the final shot.

“Try not to let Randle catch the ball, we’re gonna make somebody else beat us,” said Edwards. “Gladly, RJ Barrett caught it. If he would’ve made the shot, we would’ve lived with it. That’s who we want taking the shot. We don’t want anybody else taking it.”

Barrett responded to Edwards’ shade by tweeting a laughing face emoji.

The 20-year-old Knicks star spoke further on Edwards’ comments Monday.

“I thought it was funny,” said Barrett, per the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy. “I don’t usually tweet. I don’t know what it was about this one. I felt like this one was an OK scenario to laugh at.

“Oh I’m very confident,” he added about his next opportunity. “I’m very confident, I can’t wait for the next one.”

Randle, an All-Star this year, is the Knicks’ leading scorer, so getting the ball out of his hands was a definite win for the Wolves. Barrett is also a fairly shaky shooter with a 42.3 field goal percentage for his career. But it is still rare for a player to so openly diss another player’s shooting ability like that.

The No. 1 overall pick Edwards has already won plenty of fans in his rookie season with how real he keeps it. But the flip side of that is that it can easily lead to beef like the one that may be brewing here between him and Barrett.

Photo: Flickr/All-Pro Reels via cc-by-sa 2.0

David Fizdale has head-scratching reason for sitting RJ Barrett on final play

David Fizdale

The New York Knicks lost a nail-biter to the Charlotte Hornets this weekend, and coach David Fizdale once again came under fire for a tactical decision.

On the final possession of a one-point game, Fizdale chose to sit star rookie RJ Barrett and insert sharpshooter Wayne Ellington, who had not played for the entire game. The Knicks wound up letting Julius Randle take a long contested fadeaway, which he missed.

On Monday, Fizdale gave a strange reason to reporters for why he sat Barrett.

“[Ellington was in] just as a distraction, to try to open up floor for Julius to have a driving lane,” he said, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Trust me, more nights than not RJ Barrett will be in the game at crunch time.”

It does seem rather strange to sit one of your best offensive players in a one-point situation for the purposes of trying to better distract an opponent. It is especially so considering that Barrett had already scored 22 points in the game and is arguably a better, more efficient driver than Randle.

Granted, Fizdale definitely seems to be on the hot seat right now, and he is not doing much to help his cause with baffling decisions like this.

David Fizdale defends RJ Barrett’s heavy minutes, calls load management ‘crap’

David Fizdale

Tom Thibodeau may no longer be in the NBA, but his spirit lives on in New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale.

After the Knicks suffered a 113-92 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, Fizdale defended the heavy minutes he was giving to rookie star RJ Barrett.

“He’s got the day off tomorrow,” said Fizdale, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “We gotta get off this load management crap. Latrell Sprewell averaged 42 minutes for a season. This kid’s 19 years old. Drop it.”

Barrett, who is averaging 17.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game so far this season, played a whopping 41 minutes on Sunday, despite the game being a blowout from the first half onward. That brought his total on the year to 37.1 minutes per game, and he now leads the league in total minutes played.

While Barrett should indeed be getting significant playing time so that he can develop, there is a balance to be struck between that and not trotting him out unnecessarily in noncompetitive situations. All told, this is not the first time that Fizdale’s game management has come into question.

RJ Barrett could see time at point guard for Knicks this season

RJ Barrett

The New York Knicks might not be too watchable this season, but one interesting storyline could be how the team deploys rookie star RJ Barrett.

Knicks head coach David Fizdale spoke on Tuesday about the possibility of playing the No. 3 overall pick at the point guard position for the team.

“I’ve thrown him at that position a couple times already,” said Fizdale, per Ian Begley of SNY. “He played some of that in college. I think it adds another layer to how dynamic he can be. Especially having someone that big that can switch things do some different things defensively. So yeah, I’ll sprinkle that in.

“He’s really poised. He looks comfortable,” Fizdale continued about Barrett. “The kid likes having the ball in his hands. He’s unselfish. He finds people. He understands – he knows our plays from that position. I feel very comfortable if I have to throw him there.”

The 6-foot-7 Barrett, a natural wing, averaged 22.6 points and 4.3 dimes per game at Duke last season, posting the highest usage rate on the team as well as one of the highest assist percentages.

The Knicks have a crowded point guard rotation with Dennis Smith Jr, Frank Ntilikina, and new arrival Elfrid Payton all competing for minutes. It is hard to discount Barrett’s case for time at the 1 however, especially considering that this Hall of Fame point guard once called him a “next-level playmaker.”

Zion Williamson on RJ Barrett: Knicks are ‘getting a killer’

RJ Barrett

Zion Williamson continues to speak highly of college teammate RJ Barrett.

Williamson was at the Panini NBA Rookie Photo Shoot on Sunday and was asked by SNY’s Ian Begley about Barrett. Williamson described his fellow lottery pick as a “killer.”

“(Knicks fans) can expect that they’re getting a killer,” Williamson told SNY. “For the people that are trying to look down on him, RJ’s been through worse. He knows how to battle through it and he’s going to bring the city everything he’s got.”

Williamson and Barrett were close friends during their time together at Duke. The two entered college as highly-regarded recruits. They left with Williamson viewed as the best player in college basketball and runaway favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, which he became. Barrett had a fine season but didn’t quite live up to his billing as a freshman. He still was picked No. 3 overall by the Knicks, who are hoping he will become the game-changer they have lacked.

New York had a quiet offseason. They failed to land Kevin Durant as they were hoping (or not hoping?) and ended up making several under-the-radar signings such as Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Marcus Morris.

Top 3 picks in NBA Draft all cried in interview with parents after being picked

Zion Williamson crying

The top three picks in the 2019 NBA Draft went as expected, but the drama came in the post-selection interviews with ESPN’s Maria Taylor. Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and RJ Barrett all cried when talking about what their parents meant to them and their success.

Here is Zion Williamson getting emotional upon becoming the top pick in the draft and thinking of the sacrifices his mother made for him.

Next up after the New Orleans Pelicans took Williamson No. 1 was the Memphis Grizzlies, who picked Ja Morant second. Morant got emotional thinking about all the work his father put in with him.

And the third pick was RJ Barrett by the New York Knicks. He cried on the shoulder of his father, Rowan Barrett.

Seeing the emotion from the players and how much their parents meant to their success was endearing. Getting drafted — especially at the top of the NBA Draft — is the realization of dreams for many of these players.

Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, RJ Barrett expected to go 1-2-3 in draft

Zion Williamson

The top of the 2019 NBA Draft appears to be finalized hours before the draft takes place.

Zion Williamson has long been expected to go No. 1 overall, while the Grizzlies have been tied to Ja Morant ever since winning the No. 2 pick in the lottery. RJ Barrett has also been expected to be picked by the Knicks at No. 3.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Thursday that those picks are already set, meaning the mystery won’t begin until the New Orleans Pelicans pick at No. 4.

Players like Darius Garland, Coby White, and De’Andre Hunter have been mentioned as potential picks at No. 4. New Orleans also has been interested in trading that pick.

The real fun will begin with that fourth pick.

Report: Pelicans in all-out effort to trade up for RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett

Zion Williamson might not be the only Duke star that the New Orleans Pelicans land in this year’s draft.

Veteran basketball writer Peter Vecsey reported Wednesday that the Pelicans are engaged in an “all-out effort” to trade up to the No. 2 draft slot (currently occupied by the Memphis Grizzlies) in order to select RJ Barrett. Such a package would feature, among other assets, the No. 4 overall pick that they acquired in principle from the Los Angeles Lakers for Anthony Davis.

The Pelicans also hold the No. 1 overall pick and are all but guaranteed to select Williamson, who played with Barrett at Duke.

Barrett himself has a different destination in mind, but the opportunity to run it back with his old teammate in New Orleans might just be enough to win him over if the Pelicans can somehow pull this off.