Atlantic Notes: Barrett, Thibodeau, Powell

Knicks guard RJ Barrett is in the midst of a miserable shooting slump, Marc Berman of the New York Post notes. The No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft has made just 19 of 72 field-goal attempts since scoring 26 points in the team’s opener. He’s also missed all 21 of his 3-point tries in the last four games. However, Tom Thibodeau said this week that Barrett contributes in many ways.

“He’s doing a lot of things for us defensively, moving well without the ball. He’s getting downhill,” the Knicks coach said. “There’s a lot of room for him to grow. … Just having a wing to do things he can do, his versatility is a big asset for the team and willingness to make plays for people.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Thibodeau has stuck with the same starting five in the first five games because he wants to establish chemistry and a coherent rotation, Berman writes in a separate story. “I think they’re familiar with each other,’’ Thibodeau said. “It’s a good balance of how they complement each other. We have three guys that can go off the dribble pretty effectively. We have shooting with Reggie (Bullock) and defense. And Mitch (Mitchell Robinson) is really coming on. So I like the balance of that group, especially with our bench.’’
  • The Raptors have played better with Norman Powell in the starting lineup but it creates other issues, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. In 90 career starts, Powell has averaged 13.3 PPG while shooting 41% from 3-point range. Toronto could go small by taking Aron Baynes out of the lineup but that would affect the second unit and reduce Alex Len‘s playing time, Smith adds.
  • ICYMI, virtually every Atlantic Division teams has checked in with the Rockets regarding disgruntled star James Harden. Get the details here.
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