"New Yorkers, I'm here. I love you," he said. "Let's try to get back to that championship way."
Bringing winning basketball back to New York was the theme of the night for the 19-year-old:
And while New York (17-65) finished with the worst record in basketball last season, Barrett made it clear that it would "mean a lot" for him to be drafted by the team, as his late grandfather was "the biggest Knicks fan."
The feeling was mutual, as Knicks fans at Brooklyn's Barclays Center roared when the pick was announced:
"I'm glad that the city wants me here as much as I want to be here," Barrett said Thursday.
Now he will have the opportunity to try to raise banners in Madison Square Garden.
Barrett, a 6'7" forward, was viewed as a consensus top-three pick following an outstanding freshman season at Duke. He averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists in his lone season in Durham, helping the Blue Devils reach the Elite Eight.
247Sports ranked Barrett as the top recruit in the class of 2018, putting him above eventual No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. It's that type of hype that now has New York fans excited about the future.
Barrett will have his work cut out for him, though. The Knicks are currently in the midst of a six-year playoff drought, they have not won a championship since 1973, and they recently dealt former "franchise savior" Kristaps Porzingis.