NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 23: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks drives past Garrison Mathews #24 of the Washington Wizards during the second half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 23, 2019 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

RJ Barrett’s godfather, Steve Nash, thinks this New York Knicks rookie is going to be a special player, in part, because of his passing.

Steve Nash knows a thing or two about playmaking. The Hall of Fame point guard is one of the most electric passers in NBA history and he thinks New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett has the makings of a “natural playmaker.”

“He’s shown very much of what I thought he’d show,” Nash said via Ian Begley of SNY. “He’s an incredibly talented, well-rounded basketball player. He does a bit of everything. I think he will evolve into a great playmaker because that’s a natural ability for him that he doesn’t necessarily get to shine in at this stage of his career, and this stage of this team. That’s exciting for Knicks fans that he still produces, he’s versatile, he can score. He’s growing defensively. And for me, he’s a natural playmaker and that hasn’t been a part of his upside yet that’s highlighted. So for the franchise, that’s exciting.”

Nash’s praise of Barrett isn’t simply because of their close relationship. The rookie is only averaging 2.5 assists per game, but he’s shown a willingness to pass on pick-and-rolls. He’s developing solid chemistry with Mitchell Robinson in those situations and it’s clear that he has the talent and instincts to become an excellent passer.

In fact, the Knicks have experimented with playing the rookie at point guard earlier this season. He was thrust into that duty because of injuries, but nonetheless, it showed the team’s confidence in Barrett as a playmaker.

For the time being, the Canadian is out with a sprained ankle, but he is set to be re-evaluated on Friday. The Knicks have games against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Toronto Raptors on the docket for the upcoming week.

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