RJ Barrett on Being Drafted by Knicks: Let's Get Back to 'Championship Way'

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2019

BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 20: RJ Barrett poses for a photo after being selected third overall by the New York Knicks during the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20, 2019 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Michelle Farsi/Getty Images

After being drafted by the New York Knicks third overall in the 2019 NBA draft Thursday, RJ Barrett already has his sights set on delivering a championship to the Big Apple.

"New Yorkers, I'm here. I love you," he said. "Let's try to get back to that championship way."


RJ Barrett's message to New York: "I'm here, I love you, let's try to get back to that championship way" https://t.co/ITz7wTgIhT

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.