RJ Barrett
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

The New York Knicks believe they have a franchise cornerstone in RJ Barrett, and Vegas projects the rookie to be among the best of his class.

RJ Barrett was once ruled a bust after two Summer League games. Thankfully, that ridiculous narrative died down. In fact, the New York Knicks rookie is still considered to be one of the favorites to win Rookie of the Year next season.

Zion Williamson is the heavy favorite to win, according to Oddsharks, but Ja Morant and Barrett aren’t too far behind the No. 1 overall pick.

It’s no surprise to see Williamson, Morant, and Barrett leading the pack. The general feeling around the 2019 NBA Draft was that these three were a cut above the rest of the draft class.

Of course, an unexpected challenger may enter the fray a la Donovan Mitchell in 2018. Although 2018 brings up another possibility. Mitchell was the runner up in Rookie of the Year voting behind Ben Simmons, who sat out an entire year after being drafted No. 1 overall in 2016.

Michael Porter Jr. was a highly-touted prospect in 2018, but injury concerns had him fall to the Denver Nuggets. He sat out all of last season, but there’s no doubt that he possesses the talent to make a run at Rookie of the Year honors. Whether or not he can actually make it onto the floor is another story.

Barrett could hold the key to the Knicks’ future. New York is searching for its next star in the wake of the Kristaps Porzingis trade. At this moment, Barrett appears to be the player on the roster most likely to develop into that type of talent.

If he wins Rookie of the Year in 2019-20, he’ll be off to a perfect start in his tenure with the Knicks.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.