“I was terrible on defense today”

New York Knicks wing RJ Barrett had a game to remember, scoring his career-high 35 points. Barrett has already come out and said he wants to be on the All-Defense team this season. He also said he was disappointed by his defense tonight, despite two game-sealing three-pointers.

The Knicks are tied with the best record in the Eastern Conference with a 5-1 record, and Barrett has been a big part of that on both ends of the court. The third overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft has a down year compared to his two previous seasons but is looking like the best version of himself.

After a 123-117 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, Barrett scored nine of his 35 points in the last two minutes of the game. Barrett said this after the game about his defense:

“It was definitely a good game overall offensively. I was terrible on defense today. Not good.”

RJ Barrett with a critique of himself when asked if his career-high 35-point performance was his best game in the NBA: “It was definitely a good game overall offensively. I was terrible on defense today. Not good.”

It was just one game removed after RJ Barrett made a game-winning shot contest against DeMar DeRozan in a one-point victory over the Chicago Bulls.

What can RJ Barrett be for the Knicks this season?

With the additions of Kamba Walker and Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett no longer has to be the second option on offense. Even though Barrett showed he could be good in that role last season during the regular season, averaging 17.6 points and 14.7 attempts, he still struggled to create his own shot.

This was evident in the playoffs when he dropped from 44% from the field to 39% in the playoffs due to more constant defense.

However, it does seem like Barrett is making the necessary improvements with the ball in his hands. With both of his clutch threes coming off a dribble pull-up. Barrett has been trying to improve over the off-season, and against the Pelicans it was the first time it was shown this season.

If Barrett can develop into a lesser role, in the long term, it could be better for him, compared to if he was asked to give the Knicks 20 points a night. So far this season, before tonight’s game, Barrett is averaging 13.6 points on 12.2 shots, a significant drop-off from last year.

On top of that, Barrett has turned into one of the better defenders on the team, taking the opponent’s best wing players on a nightly basis. That was evident on opening night when he put the clamps on Jayson Tatum all night long.

All in all, RJ Barrett is one of the crucial pieces to this Knicks season, as he develops his offensive game and as one of the team’s best defenders.

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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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