Last year, the New York Knicks were the feel good story in town.
They were a ton of fun to watch, ended up as a top 4 seed, and exceeded every possible expectation imaginable. The 2021-2022 season has been the polar opposite of the feel good ride. It’s been rotten and vile. A lot of blown leads, a lot of terrible rotations, a lousy roster and a lousy season.
The first two games right out the All Star Break against the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers established the harsh reality for the Knick’s present and near future. They are far, far away in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks need stars, after all, the NBA is a star driven league.
After this season, it’s pretty obvious. Julius Randle, not the player he was a season ago.
So, is there a glimmer of hope for Knicks fans for this year and beyond? Yes, and his name is RJ Barrett. RJ Barrett was the third pick in the NBA Draft back in 2019 and has done exactly what you want a young player to do. He’s gotten better and better every single season.
Barrett is averaging a career high 18.7 points per game and flashed with a career best 46 points on Friday night. The performance against the Heat drew high praise from star forward Jimmy Butler. Butler proclaimed that he believed Barrett has a chance to be the next face of the New York Knicks.
For me, forget about that. I’d sign for RJ Barrett to have a career similar to Butler’s! Barrett works hard, plays hard and has the right attitude to thrive in New York. He has the potential to be an All-Star caliber player down the road. The Knicks need more players like RJ Barrett.
Is RJ Barrett Ja Morant? Sadly, no he is not.
Morant was the selection right before Barrett in the 2019 NBA Draft, and he profiles as a legitimate # 1 superstar. I don’t know if Barrett has that kind of upside, but for a franchise that has whiffed on picks for the better part of two decades, it’s nice to hit on a guy who can legitimately play.
Look, this season has stunk from a Knicks perspective. No getting around that, but man I like the idea of RJ Barrett growing as a Knick in the years ahead.
Let that be a silver lining… After all, after this season, we all kinda need one!