RJ Barrett
John Locher/AP Photo

New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett ended Summer League on a good note. But the short-term success hasn’t clouded his goals for the future.

Geoffrey Campbell

Speaking with Rebecca Haarlow of MSG Networks, RJ Barrett was honest about where his game needs to go post-Vegas Summer League. The New York Knicks rookie sounds excited about his future.

“I need to make some free throws,” Barrett said. “I need to make some layups and I need to make more threes.”

In five games, Barrett averaged 15.4 points per game on 34% shooting. Additionally, he scooped up 8.6 rebounds while dishing out 4.2 assists per game.

While other top-draft picks did not even touch the court during Summer League, Barrett was on full display, averaging 30 minutes a game.

Barrett’s Summer League was a tale of two halves. During the first two-to-three games, Barrett really struggled. He often forced shots, missed easy passes, and featured almost every one of his criticisms from college. This prompted many on social media to label him a bust.

Yet, Barrett quickly turned things around as he posted back-to-back double-double stat lines against the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers.

After his early struggles, Barrett was eventually able to let the game come to him. He was more decisive, aggressive, and able to let his natural ability shine on the court.

Going forward, in addition to Barrett’s own acknowledged areas of improvement, he needs to improve on the defensive end and as a decision-maker. For any 19-year-old, it’s going to be a steep learning curve, and NBA defenses will have a field day with him if he continues to pre-determine his moves and reads.

But this is where head coach David Fizdale is going to make his money. The development of Barrett and the rest of the Fiz kids will be the storyline to watch for the entire season. If Fiz can manage that along with keeping the newly-signed veterans happy, then this team will surpass expectations.

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