The New York Knicks made the playoffs during the 2020-21 season, but they have not looked like the same team this season. They are currently the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference with a 12-16 record, and there's no question that this has been a disappointing season thus far for them.
Julius Randle is an All-Star and a good player, but he simply doesn't have a lot of offensive help next to him. While the New York Knicks do have a lot of savvy veterans who work hard, Charles Barkley has recently astutely stated that "you can only win so many games on hard work". He also criticized RJ Barrett for not stepping up, claiming that the Knicks forward has to "become close to being an All-Star" if the New York Knicks want to be a good team.
You can only win so many games on hard work. The Kemba thing clearly has not worked. So you really cannot say that they got better than last year. They just play hard, but they don't have great talent.
I mean Randle's a heck of a player, but who's the second-best player on that team. I did not know Kemba didn't have a lot left in the tank... To me he (RJ Barrett) has to be the guy to step up, and he hasn't done that... But if they're going to be any good, it's going to have to be Barrett, he's gonna have to become close to being an All-Star.
There is no question that RJ Barrett had a solid season last year. He averaged 17.6 PPG while shooting 40.1% from beyond the arc in 2020-21, while also playing solid defense. But this season he has been disappointing, only averaging 15.1 PPG and shooting 35.3% from range.
Hopefully, RJ Barrett has a good rest of the season, and if he reverts to his 2020-21 form, the New York Knicks are bound to improve. Barrett once stated that he's "destined for greatness", and now would be a great time to show that. There's still a lot of the season left to be played, and the Knicks could potentially make a run in the future.