Steve Nash didn’t get to watch his godson, RJ Barrett, play last night because of an injury, but he has faith that Barrett will develop into a franchise cornerstone for the Knicks, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.
“(Barrett’s) shown very much of what I thought he’d show. He’s an incredibly talented, well-rounded basketball player. He does a bit of everything. I think he will evolve into a great playmaker because that’s a natural ability for him that he doesn’t necessarily get to shine in at this stage of his career and on this stage of this team,” Nash said. “That’s exciting for Knicks fans that he still produces, he’s versatile, he can score. He’s growing defensively. And for me, he’s a natural playmaker and that hasn’t been a part of his upside yet that’s highlighted. So for the franchise, that’s exciting.”
Barrett was a primary ballhandler in college, but the Knicks quickly gave up on their experiment of using him at point guard, Bondy notes. Still, his usage rate is high at 23.2% and he is often utilized as a secondary initiator of the offense.
There’s more Knicks news to pass along:
- The Sixers expressed interest in hiring New York assistant Royal Ivey after the end of last season, but the Knicks blocked the move because they thought Ivey might help attract Kevin Durant in free agency, Bondy adds in a separate story. Ivey is a close friend with Durant and was a former teammate in Oklahoma City. A source tells Bondy that the Knicks refused to allow the Sixers to interview Ivey, but did give him a pay raise.
- The Knicks never made it to Australia to see LaMelo Ball in person before he was shut down for the season with a foot injury, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The front office was planning a trip this month, but Berman points out that it might not matter because president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry may not be with the team by draft time.
- The Knicks will be wasting an opportunity if they don’t trade Marcus Morris by the deadline, contends Tommy Beer of Forbes. Morris is enjoying his best statistical season, averaging 19.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 3-pointers per game, but may not be a long-term fit at age 30. Not only would the Knicks be better off with whatever assets they can obtain in return, Beer adds, trading Morris takes away any chance they will overpay to re-sign him this summer.