The New York Knicks kicked off training camp for the 2020-21 season on Tuesday with some individual workouts, followed by video conference media access for a few players.
The most important player to speak, by far, was second-year man RJ Barrett. Looking to spark some juicy quotes, the press asked him about being left off both All-Rookie teams. Needless to say, RJ was displeased by the snub.
RJ Barrett is using his All-Rookie snub as motivation:— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) December 1, 2020
"Bothered me a lot, I'm not gonna lie. I don't understand why I wasn't on it" pic.twitter.com/TkixjiRGf2
Most Knicks fans wanted to see RJ make All-Rookie, while the vast majority of NBA Twitter dorks were disgusted by the idea of such an inefficient scorer making the team over, say, the 11th man on the Toronto Raptors. RJ had the counting stats, but those just don’t go very far in today’s NBA. Personally, I don’t mind so much that he was left off the team, but I believe he was playing his best ball of the season just as the lockdown happened, so he would have had a much stronger case if the Knicks had played all 82 games.
But let us look forward...to the future! RJ was also asked his thoughts on rookie Obi Toppin, whom he worked out with on Tuesday.
"Very talented, very athletic, very versatile, excited to have him on our team"@RjBarrett6 can't wait to play alongside workout partner @obitoppin1 pic.twitter.com/RLB8HvyIjO— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) December 1, 2020
New head coach Tom Thibodeau had some thoughts about Toppin as well. Let’s just say he’s a fan of the offense.
"His energy, his skill set, offensively he's about as ready as a young guy can be"— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) December 1, 2020
Tom Thibodeau loves Obi Toppin's fit in New York pic.twitter.com/oatXFoPdjY
Of course, this is pretty much the book on Toppin: extremely NBA-ready on offense, extremely unready on D. But teaching defense is why Thibs is making the big bucks.
Thibs had some controversial remarks — at least as far as the beat writers were concerns — when asked if he would play the Knicks’ many kiddies at the cost of wins.
Theme of season could be this. Will Thibs play the youngsters over vets at cost to winning? "There’s a lot of different ways to develop but also understanding the importance of winning and how important that is,'' Thibodeau said today. "Things are going to be earned." Oh boy.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) December 1, 2020
I mean, what the hell was he supposed to say? Moving on...
Dennis Smith Jr. also got to talk. He had a difficult 2019-20 season — both on and off the court — and he believes he has matured in all aspects of his life.
Dennis Smith Jr. is putting last season behind him:— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) December 1, 2020
"I feel like I got better as a player, but also as a man this offseason" pic.twitter.com/98UrLJJmyb
Sneaky-good signing Nerlens Noel also spoke about his defense-oriented game as well as his potential mentoring relationship with Mitchell Robinson.
Nerlens Noel is looking forward to mentoring Mitchell Robinson:— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) December 1, 2020
"I want to be a big brother to him, give him a lot of advice" pic.twitter.com/oXcvl0iJYR
And that’s about it. RJ also said he’d like to make the playoffs. I, too, would like RJ to make the playoffs. Let’s make that happen!