Video: RJ Barrett Says He's 'Built for This' When Asked About Playing for Knicks

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2019

Duke forward RJ Barrett (5) reacts after scoring against Michigan State during the second half of an NCAA men's East Regional final college basketball game in Washington, Sunday, March 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Duke Blue Devils wing RJ Barrett is widely projected to be the No. 3 overall pick in this summer's NBA draft, which would mean he's destined for the New York Knicks, barring any trades.

On Thursday, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith asked him on First Take if he was ready to handle the bright lights and scrutiny of New York City:

First Take @FirstTake

"Biggest thing is my confidence. I'm built for this. I've been workin' since I was young, so I'm not really worried." — @RjBarrett6 to @stephenasmith on potentially heading to New York https://t.co/YMhA3ojkSI

It's not as though Barrett is coming to the NBA after a college year spent in obscurity. No program in college basketball receives more attention than Duke, and all Barrett did during his one season with the Blue Devils was average 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. 

Barrett is the top wing prospect in this class, and as B/R's Jonathan Wasserman noted in his latest mock draft, "The most likely scenario still has the Knicks drafting Barrett, who'll either have a forgiving place to develop behind stars or a chance to immediately be a top option—depending on how management does during free agency."

Of course, it remains possible that Barrett will never play a game for the Knicks, either because they fall in love with a different prospect like Jarrett Culver or Darius Garland, or because they trade the pick.

The Knicks will have one of the most attractive trade packages to offer the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis this summer, and if they feel they can pair with some elite free-agent acquisitions, it's a deal they'd be wise to consider. In that case, Barrett very well could end up reunited with Duke teammate Zion Williamson, universally considered the top prospect in this year's draft and the presumptive top overall pick.

But if the Knicks come calling, Barrett appears ready to handle the pressure of playing in New York City.