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RJ Barrett Shows Out in Offseason Run

On the wing a young Knick’s fancy lightly turns to making a leap in year three

2021 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Offseason pro runs have become a viral phenomenon with the help of social media. A few big-time trainers are even considered stars and influencers themselves. Among those few is NBA skills coach Drew Hanlen. The CEO of Pure Sweat basketball has trained some of the best in the game: Joel Embiid, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, Jordan Clarkson, Kelly Oubre, Meyers Leonard and many more. One of Hanlen’s clients has been a client since he was 15 — RJ Barrett.

This summer, aside from the individual workouts which we saw a glimpse of a few weeks ago, the Knicks’ wing has been attending Hanlen’s recent pro runs.

A prior article that touched on what the third-year player needs to add to his game covered how it important it is for Barrett to improve getting to the rim and getting his own shot. And to the delight of many Knicks fans, Barrett can be seen in these runs doing just that (see below).

Now, these are just summer runs, after all, and we have seen other NBA players look unstoppable in these settings before, only to translate very poorly to the season...that being said, the array of pull-up 3s, step-back jump shots and right-hand finishes offers excitement and hope for what could be another jump in the youngster’s game.

Last year he started off struggling mightily with his shooting, then caught fire and showed just how much he’d worked on his jumper. Many were impressed not only by the results, but the mental fortitude and confidence he had to stay on course and trust the work he put in during the summer. He went from averaging 14.3 points per game on 40.2% from the field and 32% from 3 to 17.6 on 44% and 40.1% from 3. While he struggled in the playoffs, Barrett showed signs he possesses the work ethic, physical tools and mentality to become a very good player.

Barrett may have to adjust his game a bit, as will all the Knicks, with the additions of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier. But with the ability to spot up, as he showed last year, and the continued improvement of his ball handling, Barrett’s versatility, if utilized correctly, can be a huge weapon for Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks.