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FutureStarrRJ Barrett Was Scoreless on 0-for-5 Shooting in the First Half of the New York Knicks' Loss to the Brooklyn Nets Monday Night
On Saturday night, the New York Knicks held on for a win against the Toronto Raptors. RJ Barrett only contributed four points and one rebound in 24 minutes of action, but Jalen Brunson scored 40 points on six 3-pointers while Julius Randle contributed 26 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.
On Monday night, RJ Barrett went 0-for-5 from the field in the first half of the New York Knicks' loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Ultimately, he finished 2 of 8 for four points.
After a difficult start to the season, third-year point guard showed signs of improvement in the second half. He's now scoring more than 20 points per game and shooting 40 percent from deep over his last six games combined.
Although his numbers may not be spectacular, he has made progress in the areas that matter most to him: efficiency in catch-and-shoot opportunities, scoring at the rim more frequently and becoming a threat at getting to the free throw line more often than before.
These are all encouraging signs for the 21-year-old, whose efficiency has seen a notable jump from 22 points per game last season to an impressive 23 this year. Nonetheless, there remain several areas in which he needs to improve.
First and foremost, he needs to improve his three-point shooting consistency. While the Knicks have had some success from downtown this year, their shooting has also had its ups and downs. Over the last five games, he's only managed to hit 32% from long range on 12 attempts - an unacceptable mark!
If he maintains his shooting percentage of 40% from deep, that should translate into an increase in fantasy points scored. With such a promising outlook, there's every chance he could end up as an All-Star. If this trend continues, expect him to have a successful year.
His ability to create his own shot has been another important factor this season. He's averaging more than three assists per game, which means he's getting to the free throw line more frequently than ever before.
It's been fascinating to watch him improve at using screens against wings this year; on these three nights, his shooting percentage against them only went up to 40% when using a screen instead of going up and attacking without it.
This type of play will enable him to improve his efficiency against wings. Already an excellent wing defender, if he can use screens effectively to make himself more dangerous against them in the long run, then it could bode well for him.
On Saturday night, the New York Knicks suffered their first loss of the season to Oklahoma City Thunder, falling 145-120. While this was due to some poor shooting and an ineffective defensive performance, RJ Barrett's inability to score any points during the opening half was particularly concerning.
After the break, Barrett began to show his dominance, scoring 24 points in the second half and leading New York to an amazing come-from-behind victory. Additionally, he added four assists and a rebound during the contest.
Still, there is work to be done. He needs to improve his shooting efficiency and become a more consistent finisher at the rim, but he's making steady progress in that regard.
He's also more adept at getting to the basket this season, with Cleaning the Glass reporting 48 percent of Barrett's shots were within four feet of the rim and an average of 9.8 drives to the basket per game.
Though his shooting wasn't quite at his sophomore level, this is still a positive step in the right direction. If he can continue to hone his craft and start hitting more shots, he could become an invaluable asset on offense.
Another critical area of his game that needs improvement is passing ability. Only 12.2 percent of his passes resulted in assists, an indication of where he needs to improve.
But he can overcome this obstacle by honing his passing skills and becoming more of an active passer in general. While it requires him to be more assertive, this is something that he can work on during his free time.
In addition to his improved scoring ability, Barrett may also develop into a superior defender this season. His quickness on offense and versatility when playing help defense give him an edge that few others possess.
He can be an even more effective defender in the half-court. His guarding of agile shooting guards was impressive, but his switching around screens needed work.
If he continues to refine his shot-making and defending, he'll be an indispensable part of the New York Knicks' rebuilding effort. At only 19, he already has shown signs of being an All-Star, so now the team must seize this chance and develop him further into an All-Star player.
When people think of RJ Barrett, most likely they envision the lanky and slender player with his head down and barreling into the rim. While that remains his go-to move on the court, he's recently been showing off other ways to score as well.
Tom Thibodeau had high praise for Barrett after the game for attacking the rim and forcing defenses to fold, helping keep the Knicks' momentum alive. That is exactly what he expected from his star player - an approach which has often worked in his favor in past matches.
With Julius Randle struggling to play at a high level and Derrick Rose out with ankle surgery, Barrett has stepped in and filled the void in the lineup. This has resulted in some key changes to his game this season.
First and foremost, he has begun to operate more efficiently in the paint. His connection with Jalen Brunson on the floor has made it easier for him to be a cutter and back-down shooter when finding space to score points - as evidenced by his 22-point performance against Charlotte Saturday night.
One notable change is that he now starts alongside Quentin Grimes, which has allowed him to be more efficient as a three-point shooter. Grimes boasts an impressive percentage from deep and can usually camp out in the corner for extra room to work.
In addition to his improved offensive production, Barrett's defensive production has also seen a marked improvement. This season he has shot 45% on defensive rebounds - an improvement from last year's 42% average.
But one area which has not changed is his Defensive Plus Minus (D-PM), which remains below league average this season. If the Knicks want to remain competitive in the East this season, this area needs to improve.
Overall, Barrett has been a bright spot for the Knicks so far this season and it won't be long until he makes an impact on the NBA level. At present, he's still considered a fringe second-tier scorer; however, as long as his offensive output matches up with his defensive production, Barrett can be an important piece of this young team's puzzle.
After a slow start to the season, RJ Barrett is emerging as an invaluable part of the New York Knicks' offense. Entering Thursday's game against Miami Heat, he was averaging 20.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest.
His shooting percentage is nearly identical to last season, which is a positive sign for the fourth-year wing. Unfortunately, it's hard to ignore that his efficiency has declined over the past week; in that span he's shot just 42.9% from the field and 23.1% from three-point range.
The cause of Barrett's drop in efficiency is due to a combination of poor offensive execution and personal fouls. While this is not his first slump, it feels different this time around.
Due to his slump, Barrett has been playing fewer minutes than usual. On Monday's 129-123 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, he saw 27 minutes - below his season average of 34.5 minutes.
That's essential, as the Knicks depend on their big three -- Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett -- to perform at their highest level if they hope to compete for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. With over a third of their offense coming from this trio alone, without efficient efforts from them the Knicks may not be able to secure that final playoff spot necessary to advance.
Despite his struggles, Barrett has found his offensive groove and should continue to see his minutes increase as the season progresses. With increased efficiency, Barrett's scoring output should also improve.
On Thursday night, the Knicks got a strong return from Barrett as the fourth-year forward scored 30 points (13-23 FG, 0-5 3Pt) in 41 minutes of action during their 106-104 win against Miami Heat. Due to an illness, Barrett was forced to miss Sunday's game against Philadelphia but should be available again Tuesday when New York takes on Orlando Magic.
The Knicks are now 28-25 on the season and in seventh place in the East. As they near the trade deadline, they'll be looking to add players that can help them win games and improve their record. Meanwhile, Barrett must continue performing at his peak level to be part of New York's long-term success.