Despite late rumblings of going in a different direction, the New York Knicks are still reportedly targeting Duke’s RJ Barrett with the third overall pick.
The Knicks had a late workout with Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, they remain intent on taking Barrett third overall.
Some late rumors had the Knicks springing a surprise in the form of Garland with the No. 3 pick, and the fact that they worked him out this close to draft day was only going to intensify that chatter. There may have been interest, and it may have been legitimate, but ultimately, they’ve been zeroed in on Barrett all along.
Ja Morant is widely considered to be the second-best player in the NBA Draft behind top prospect Zion Williamson, but there is apparently at least one scenario that could unfold that would see Morant fall past the No. 2 pick.
The New Orleans Pelicans currently hold the No. 4 pick, and there have been numerous reports that they are exploring options to trade it. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, one possibility they have considered is making a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies to move up to the No. 2 spot, where they would select former Duke swingman RJ Barrett.
If that happened, it would leave the New York Knicks to take Morant third overall. One executive who is familiar with the Knicks’ thinking heading into the draft told Berman that they are sticking with No. 3 and would be “delighted” to take Morant or Barrett. They were previously open to moving back if they were blown away with an offer, but that appears unlikely to happen.
Barrett has openly said that he wants to play for the Knicks, and he has even refused to work out for any other team. Morant emerged as a superstar in his sophomore season at Murray State last year, averaging 24.5 points, 10.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Aside from the Pelicans, we have not heard of a team preferring Barrett over Morant.
The Pelicans believe they will be in playoff contention next season even after trading Anthony Davis, and they are said to be speaking with several teams about potential trades leading up to Thursday’s draft.
The first three picks of the NBA Draft appear to be settling into place thanks to another pronunciation from a top prospect.
RJ Barrett completed his visit with the New York Knicks on Monday. The Knicks hold the No. 3 pick, Barrett should be available, and the former Duke standout made it quite clear that he wants to be drafted there and won’t be visiting with any other teams.
Barrett turned down the opportunity to work out for the Memphis Grizzlies, who hold the No. 2 pick in the draft. They’re probably going to take Ja Morant after the New Orleans Pelicans make Zion Williamson the first pick, leaving Barrett to get his dream move to New York third overall. It increasingly seems like a foregone conclusion.
The likely No. 3 overall pick in the NBA Draft is set to visit his future home.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, RJ Barrett is set to visit the New York Knicks early next week to do a light workout and familiarize himself with the organization.
Barrett is said to be so set on the Knicks that he’s ducking the team picking second. The interest is mutual, and it’s exceedingly likely that he’ll be the pick on June 20.
Projected top NBA draft pick RJ Barrett is reportedly avoiding the workout requests from one team that has some interest in him.
According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, the Memphis Grizzlies, who hold the No. 2 overall pick, have sought to bring Barrett in for a private workout. Barrett, however, has declined, though he may ultimately change his mind before the draft takes place.
Memphis is thought to prefer Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick, but are clearly assessing their options anyway. Barrett, however, would reportedly prefer to avoid Memphis, with the Knicks — and the opportunity to play in New York — lurking just one pick later.
While there is fundamentally not a lot Barrett could do to avoid getting selected by Memphis, throwing up obstacles in their attempts to work him out is one way he could try to make the Grizzlies sour on him a bit, assuming they didn’t already prefer someone else.
The Cleveland Cavaliers may be zeroing in on their next potential superstar.
Appearing Friday on 92.3 The Fan’s “Bull & Fox,” Cleveland’s.com Joe Vardon reported that the Cavs have “supreme interest” in trading up to draft 18-year-old RJ Barrett and believe they have the assets to do so. Vardon specifically notes the team’s confidence in their ability to move JR Smith’s expiring deal.
Barrett, who put up 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists a contest in his lone season at Duke, is one of the blue-chippers in this year’s class and is unlikely to still be on the board after the New York Knicks select at No. 3. Cleveland, meanwhile, holds the No. 5 overall pick.
That said, Barrett appears to prefer a big-market landing spot, so he might not be thrilled about the possibility of ending up in Northeast Ohio.
RJ Barrett is considered by most to be the third-best player in the upcoming NBA Draft, but the Memphis Grizzlies could entertain the possibility of taking him instead of Murray State’s Ja Morant with the second overall pick. Believe it or not, Barrett would reportedly prefer to go lower than No. 2.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Barrett is hoping the Grizzlies pass on him so he can play for either the New York Knicks, who have the third pick, or the Los Angeles Lakers, who pick at No. 4. Barrett has deep roots in New York, as his father played basketball for St. John’s and mother ran track there in the 1990s.
Barring any trades within the first few picks, it seems highly likely that Barrett will get his wish. The Grizzlies are said to be zeroed in on Morant with the No. 2 pick, and the only way that might change is if the Knicks decide they also want Morant and try to swap picks.
While it would be a shock if Barrett slipped outside the top three, the Lakers may not be at No. 4 for very long. They have openly said they will explore the trade value of the pick.
Along with consensus top overall pick Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, Barrett is one of three former Duke players that could be selected in the top 10.
The New York Knicks have won the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft and will have their choice of a number of players to pick. While they’re in Chicago, which is where the draft lottery was held, they are planning to meet with a top candidate for the pick.
According to SNY’s Adam Zagoria, the Knicks are expected to meet with RJ Barrett on Wednesday.
Barrett, along with Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, formed Duke’s highly-touted recruiting class last season. Some services even had him ranked higher than Williamson entering college, though many projections of them have reversed following Williamson’s stellar season.
Barrett, who is from Canada, averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game on 45.4 percent shooting for the Blue Devils. His 3.2 turnovers per game were not ideal, nor was his 30.8 percent shooting on threes. But he’s fairly big at 6-foot-7 and can create his own shot, so he’ll have a chance to flourish if he went to New York.
The Knicks also are said to have interest in another one of his teammates.
Steve Nash is sticking up for a fellow Canadian amidst the end of his season.
The Duke Blue Devils were eliminated in Sunday’s Elite Eight game with a 68-67 loss to Michigan State. Star freshman RJ Barrett was the goat of sorts for Duke, going 7-for-17 from the floor with seven turnovers and a huge miss from the free throw line with less than ten seconds left in the contest.
After the defeat, Nash, the retired NBA great, took to Twitter to rave about the 18-year-old. Prefacing it by saying that Barrett was his godson, Nash praised the talented swingman’s playmaking skills and ability to read the floor.
Duke put their fate in Barrett’s hands down the stretch against Michigan State in what ultimately turned out to be a fairly big mistake. None of that changes Barrett’s upside and overall polish for his age however, and he will certainly be a high lottery pick if he declares for this year’s NBA draft as is expected.
Duke escaped with a 77-76 victory against UCF in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday and of course faced questions about whether or not they received favorable treatment from the officials.
Two particular plays are receiving attention following the Blue Devils’ narrow win over the Knights. The first came on Zion Williamson’s driving layup with 14 seconds left that made it 76-75 UCF. Williamson drove the lane and made contact with UCF big man Tacko Fall, who was called for a foul.
There is a dispute about whether that was a block or charge. The call went Duke’s way and had two consequences — helping Duke close the margin and also taking Fall off the floor because he fouled out.
The second call came after Williamson missed his free throw after the Fall foul. RJ Barrett got a putback to give his team the lead. Some believe he should have been called for a foul for a push in the back.
Even with those calls going in Duke’s favor, UCF still had its chances to win. They blew an alley-oop that would have made it 76-70 and probably sealed the game. They also barely missed two shots at the end of the game.
Favorable calls or not, Duke will advance to the Sweet 16 while UCF goes home after a great game.