Besides Kemba Walker, the New York Knicks didn't make any huge additions in the 2021 offseason, leaving their improvement as a team up to the development of the young players.
Out of all their young studs, RJ Barrett is probably the guy with the most pressure on him to have a breakout season, and all eyes will be on him as he enters his third year in the league.
And while there remains much doubt about his potential, the 21-year-old has certainly impressed his teammate, Julius Randle. In a chat with Ian Begley of SNY.TV, Randle gave a glowing review of the rising guard:
“RJ’s going to be a really good player. What is he, 21? I don’t know how old he is. He’s young as hell (laughs). He’s a really good player, and I can relate as far as what he’s done, and what I’ve seen from him so far in this offseason is he just keeps improving. That’s really what it’s about,” Randle said of his Knicks teammate.
"You can tell the guys who really love the game and really dedicate themselves to their craft and he’s one of them. He’s going to keep improving. I think he’s going to have another big year and make a jump. And I’m excited, not only for him as an individual but for what he’s going to bring to our team. Because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. Our team success. And he’s going to look great because of that.”
The New York Knicks are coming off one of their best seasons in years. After an inspiring run through the regular season, that earned them the 4th seed in the East, they made the playoffs after a long drought before eventually being defeated in 5 games.
Going forward, Barrett might just be the key to their success. Last season, he averaged 17.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game on 44.1% shooting. We'll see if those numbers rise in '21-'22.