While Summer League kicked off on July 1, the New York Knicks have yet to step foot on the court. This is not to say they haven’t been hard at work. We’ve seen video footage of guys like Allonzo Trier and Mitchell Robinson prepping for their first game against the New Orleans Pelicans on July 5. It goes without saying, though, that all eyes are on R.J. Barrett.
Meet Barrett .50 Caliber
While the nickname might indicate he’s a lethal shooter, Barrett has yet to prove this is part of his offensive repertoire. As a freshman, Barrett scored the most points (724) in the ACC. He averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists on a slash line of .454/.308/.665 in 38 games played.
In totality, these numbers are not something Knicks fans should be drooling over, but Barrett can still progress toward better performances in the league. Barrett and his camp have reportedly been working on a specific part of his shooting mechanics that’s attributed to poor numbers: hand placement.
It’s not easy to see in this clip, but those more familiar with Barrett’s shot form know he places his right hand on top of the ball as he rises to shoot. That’s not necessarily fundamental shooting mechanics, so it throws off his touch. As he acclimates to changing his shooting form, he should see an uptick in percentages in the NBA.
Nonetheless, Barrett went third overall for a reason and he has plenty of years to prove why.
Barrett and fellow draft mate Ignas Bradzeikis join a squad of young Knicks on July 5 when they will face Barrett’s former teammate Zion Williamson and the Pelicans.
While Summer League isn’t viewed as much of a meaningful event, this will be the time for Barrett and Bradzeikis to familiarize themselves with David Fizdale and his coaching style. It will also be a team-building experience, considering these guys will be playing together for years to come. Tip-off is at 9:30 p.m. EST.
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