NBA Exec Doesn't View Knicks' RJ Barrett as 'A Franchise or Star-Level Player'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2021

New York Knicks' RJ Barrett reacts after scoring during the second half against the Charlotte Hornets in an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in New York. (Sarah Stier/Pool Photo via AP)
Sarah Stier/Associated Press

While many around the NBA have been impressed with RJ Barrett's improvement during his second NBA season, one executive is skeptical about the New York Knicks guard's ceiling. 

"I don't view him as a franchise or star-level player," a Western Conference executive told Tim Bontemps of ESPN. He continued:

"I think he's a complementary scorer and bucket-getter. His shooting has helped his efficiency, but he still plays a lot off the bounce and hasn't proven able to make those shots.

"If he can improve as a finisher and his shot selection, he has a chance; because he can get to the paint and get to the line, and that's what the best players do."

Barrett is averaging 17.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in 2020-21, improving his shooting splits across the board after a rough rookie campaign. The Duke product is coming off a red-hot April that saw him shoot 48.2 percent from three-point range, helping the Knicks to an 11-4 record.

While there are still some clear holes in Barrett's game—most notably finishing short-distance shots—concerns he could turn into a bust at the NBA level appear unfounded.

The Knicks have been the most surprising team of this NBA season, sitting at 37-30 and in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Assuming they avoid catastrophe down the stretch, they will make their first playoff appearance since 2013 and have the makings of a promising nucleus in Barrett and Julius Randle.