New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett wants to win Rookie of the Year and Dennis Smith Jr. is ready to do whatever he can to help.
However, Smith is still putting the success of his teammates’ at the fore, specifically RJ Barrett. Smith plans to do anything he can to help Barrett take home the coveted Rookie of the Year award next season.
“I’m treating that as one of my focal points just to help him win Rookie of the Year. And whatever I can do, I’m willing to do it,” Smith Jr. said in an interview with Chris Henderson. “It’s important for us and it’s important for our team and it’s important for our morale moving forward, so I think it would be major if he won that.”
The Knicks have only had three Rookie of the Year winners in franchise history. Willis Reed won the award in 1965, Patrick Ewing took it home in 1985, and Mark Jackson did the same in 1988.
Barrett will have no shortage of competition this season. Zion Williamson heads to the New Orleans Pelicans with as much hype as any NBA prospect since LeBron James. Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies looks like the type of NBA-ready prospect who will compete for the award as well.
Additionally, every year there seem to be a few rookies who come out of nowhere to contend for Rookie of the Year. Perhaps that could be Denver Nuggets project Michael Porter Jr. after the former lottery pick sat out all season.
Winning Rookie of the Year is a realistic goal for Barrett and he’ll have teammates like Smith doing everything possible to bring home the hardware.