RJ Barrett used the final game of his first NBA Summer League experience over the weekend to show the versatility that led the New York Knicks to select him with the third overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft out of Duke.
The former Duke standout scored 21 points (7-13 FGs, 2-4 3PT), dishing out 10 assists and grabbing eight rebounds in Saturday’s 103-87 victory over the Washington Wizards.
“I feel like that’s what I can do,” Barrett told reporters after the victory. “The coaches did a great job of just trusting mean and my teammates made all the open shots.”
Barrett opened the Las Vegas Summer League with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists effort in a 85-73 loss to the Toronto Raptors. In his third Las Vegas performance, he scored 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out three assists in a win over the Lakers. He averaged 15.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists over five games, ranking third, second and first on the team, respectively.
Particularly positive was Barrett’s chemistry with second-year center Mitchell Robinson, beginning to establish what could be a strong connection for the young Knicks this fall when the regular season begins.
“He’s easy to play with, so it’s a lot of fun,” Barrett said.
Perhaps Barrett’s most impressive move in Las Vegas came against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, when he threw down a dunk off a spin move coming from the post. The 6-7 wing showed glimpses of brilliance and has the star potential of a player considered the best in his draft class as recently as last summer.
Although the Knicks failed to qualify for the eight-team tournament at the Las Vegas-based league for young players and NBA hopefuls, Barrett had positive takeaways from his first professional playing time.
“[NBA Summer League was a] great learning experience, very fun," Barrett said. "The team came together in the end.”
Barrett made sure to thank Knicks fans who watched him play in Las Vegas, both at the Thomas & Mack Center and on TV.
"It was up and down, but I’m glad we were able to get a couple of wins at the end,” Barrett said.