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Knicks' RJ Barrett Talks Advice from Steve Nash amid Team's Struggles

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 28: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Capital One Arena on December 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. 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. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images

After the New York Knicks suffered their 26th defeat of the 2019-20 NBA season on Sunday, RJ Barrett explained what he has learned from his godfather, Hall of Famer Steve Nash, amid his team's tough start.

Barrett recounted the conversations he had with Nash, including an anecdote about a one-on-one game he lost to Nash when he was 14:

The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears detailed Barrett and Nash's relationship, writing how Nash became friends with RJ's father, Rowan Sr., while playing together on the Canadian national team.

Nash was on hand Sunday as Barrett scored 24 points and grabbed six rebounds in a 135-132 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Having Nash to lean on has certainly been a luxury for the rookie guard. He explained to Spears how the 45-year-old has directly and indirectly inspired him throughout his basketball career.

"I remember watching him play in the playoffs; they were playing against the Lakers," Barrett said. "And, man, from that day forward, definitely I was like, 'I really want to be here. This is how I want to play.' And just [Nash] encouraging me growing up was great."

Nash's advice to "stay the course" might sound bit generic, but he's speaking from experience. The first of the point guard's eight All-Star appearances didn't come until his sixth season, and some of his best years came after he turned 30.

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Barrett's rookie year has been a mixed bag. The No. 3 overall pick out of Duke entered Sunday averaging 13.4 points but shooting 38.3 percent from the field and 31.1 percent from beyond the arc.

The Knicks' 10-26 record is second-worst in the Eastern Conference as well.

As frustrating as the season might be, remaining patient and keeping an eye toward the bigger picture will help Barrett move past these early hurdles.