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Knicks guard RJ Barrett on uncontested shots: ‘It’s an easy bucket’

James Foglio profile picture
Sports Editor
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Knicks guard RJ Barrett on uncontested shots: 'It's an easy bucket'
USA Today Network

New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett has no problem with defenders allowing extra space on his shot attempts. When wide open, the fourth-year player is one of the best mid-range shooters on the team.

However, the 22-year-old is underperforming this season. Barrett’s true shooting percentage is 49.5%, the guard’s lowest since his rookie season. Though, he’s recording a career-high 3-point attempt rate of 35.2%. That boils down to 5.7 threes per game.

Based on a few NBA betting sites, the Knicks have the ninth-lowest odds to win the championship in 2023. But some sportsbooks are anticipating another playoff appearance this season.

“It’s an easy bucket, in my opinion,” Barrett said on opponents leaving him uncovered. “So, I’d rather them do that.” Over the last three games, the guard has shot 0-for-16 from 3-point range.

On Sunday, he missed both 3-point attempts against the Thunder, finished 0-for-5 against the Jazz on Tuesday, and went 0-for-9 versus the Nuggets on Wednesday.

Knicks guard RJ Barrett encourages defenders to leave him wide open

Through 15 starts this season, Barrett is averaging 18.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. Plus, he’s shooting 40.2% from the floor and 25.6% from beyond the arc.

Last Wednesday, in New York’s 121-112 win over the Detroit Pistons, the Toronto-born star scored a season-high 30 points in 38 minutes played. He finished 10-of-17 (58.8%) shooting from the floor, and Barrett shot 3-of-8 (37.5%) from outside the arc as well.

“The shot is wide open, I’m going to shoot it,” continued Barrett. “I don’t have a conscience that way. I’m comfortable. I work too hard on my game.”

In September, the Knicks guard re-signed with the team on a four-year, $120 million contract. Of course, Barrett was the first player to agree to a multi-year extension with the franchise after a rookie deal since Charlie Ward in 1999.

Unfortunately, the Duke product has not yet lived up to his large contract. Last season, in 70 starts, Barrett averaged 20 points, 5.8 boards, and 3.0 assists per game. He also shot 40.8% from the field and 34.2% from long range.

Barrett ranks 19th in the NBA in field goals attempts (244), ninth in field goals missed (146), and 19th in minutes played (510). On the Knicks, the guard trails only Julius Randle (21.3) and Jalen Brunson (20) in points per game.

James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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