Team practices have started up as we are around three weeks away from the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
One New York Knick you will be seeing soon is RJ Barrett who is representing Team Canada.
The 23-year-old Barrett had a strong showing in the 2020 FIBA Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (played in 2021) and is looking to carry that over to this year’s tournament.
RJ had another decent season with the Knicks in 2022-23. The fourth-year forward averaged 19.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. He also saw his effective field goal percentage increase to 48.5 percent, up from 46.6 percent in 2021-22. Outside shooting was a weakness for him this season as he only shot 31.0 percent from three.
Barrett joins an impressive Canadian team that will feature Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jamal Murray, Luguentz Dort, Dillon Brooks, Kelly Olynyk, Dwight Powell, and others.
Back in 2021, Team Canada played three games. They would defeat Greece 97-91 then crush China 109-79 before losing in overtime 103-101 to Czech Republic in the semi-finals. of Group A and B.
RJ came out strong in the opener, scoring 22 points, only trailing Andrew Wiggins who finished with 23. He also chipped in with five rebounds and three assists in the win over Greece.
RJ Barrett had a strong 22 PTS on 8/14 FGM, including 12 PTS in the 4th, in Team Canada’s Olympics qualifying WIN vs. Greece. Barrett hit a nasty step-back three & a ferocious dunk to add to his highlight reel! ⭐️— NBA Buzz (@OfficialNBABuzz) June 30, 2021
Andrew Wiggins added 23 PTS & Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 18. pic.twitter.com/M5xZYz5Vwx
Following the opening performance, Barrett had 16 points and five assists in an easy win over China.
The last game, which ended in defeat vs Czech Republic was a great lasting memory for RJ to take away. Playing a team-high 40 minutes, Barrett tallied a team-high 23 points while also pulling down five rebounds and dishing out six assists.
Team Canada will once again get a chance to showcase their country in the upcoming FIBA games. They will need another strong showing from Barrett to make a deep run with hopes of winning the whole thing.
This should be a great opportunity for RJ to build up some confidence he might've lost in the 2022-23 season. The third overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft needs to be a leader on this Canadian team and a big-time performer. It’s also a chance for him to find his outside shot that he seemed to lose last season.
There’s a lot of growth RJ Barrett can still make and at only 23 years old, there should be an exciting future ahead.
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