RJ Barrett had an up-and-down rookie season, but the 2019 No. 3 overall selection flashed the top-notch potential that made him a tantalizing pick. Some within the league believe Barrett’s strides are promising, as Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic hears.
“I think he’s a got a bright future if the Knicks handle him the right way and (give him) the resources to keep improving,” one Western Conference scout told Vorkunov.
Barrett’s 14.3 points per game were third among all rookies, though efficiency remains an issue. Barrett ranked in the 24th percentile as a scorer off the pick-and-roll, per Synergy Sports, and his turnover rate left much to be desired.
Another rival scout told Vorkunov that he doesn’t believe Barrett will become a “high-level” play-maker, but his ability to get the paint consistently provides hope for his future. Still, free throw shooting is an area of concern, as the rookie made just 61.9% of his attempts. Vorkunov notes that – within the last 10 years – only three rookies who shot at least 200 attempts during their respective rookie seasons were worse from the line (Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons, Elfrid Payton).
Still, there’s optimism surrounding Barrett’s long-term viability in the league.
“Not sure (shooting guard is) his long-term role moving forward,” the aforementioned Western Conference scout added. “… I like his makeup. The way he plays. There’s definitely a competitive side to him that is not very common with a lot of these young players coming in … The pick for the Knicks was a good one … Once he finds his comfort zone he’ll be a really good player. He’s got to work on his shot.”