Another week has come and gone, and in the last seven days, we’ve been treated to the return of New York Knicks basketball.
The early returns through three games have been . . . mixed. An opening night battle with the Celtics went down to the wire, and while the Knicks lost a winnable game, they showed some encouraging signs for the season ahead. They were able to pick up their first win in Atlanta on the first night of a back to back, but fell flat the following night in the Big Easy. All of this parlays into an uneven start, and with another difficult week ahead, we’ll soon learn what our Knicks are really made of.
Similarly, individual performances on the team have been varied as well. A bunch of players have had moments, but consistency hasn’t been a hallmark of the season thus far. The inaugural regular season Player of the Week award, then, would only make sense to be awarded to the only player who has looked the same in each of their appearances. Congratulations to our own Maple Mamba: RJ Barrett.
Through three games, RJ Barrett has been averaging 22.7/3.0/3.3 on 47/38/82 shooting splits. Wow! Efficient! That’s not something you’ve always been able to say about him.
So far, RJ has been in attack mode, getting to the rim at ease. He’s an elite driver on the left side of the cup, and while defenses know that, it’s a lot easier to say than it is to stop.
His three point stroke has been looking solid so far—he shot 5-of-10 from long range in Games 1 and 2 combined. Further proof that his shooting may be on point lies at the charity stripe. A 14-of-17 start to the season is a strong start for a career 71% shooter.
Best of all, his defense has been on point so far. He’s been a pest so far, forcing opponents into bad shots throughout the week. Don’t believe me? Numbers don’t lie.
How Opponents are Shooting vs RJ Barrett this season:— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) October 29, 2023
BOS: 3/11 FG
ATL: 6/16 FG
NOP: 4/11 FG
RJ is holding opponents to 13/38 FG (34%) so far this season. pic.twitter.com/010nyQBphG
As a whole, RJ has had the most encouraging returns out of any Knick player so far. We’re only three games into the year. But the long-awaited RJ Barrett breakout has a chance to unfold right in front of our very own eyes.
We’ll see you next week for more! Go Knicks.