By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The New York Knicks were glad that R. J. Barrett fell to them at the No. 3 pick. The Knicks used their pick to draft the Canadian.
Barrett gives the Knicks a nice young piece, as they rebuild for the future. He’ll be partnered with Dennis Smith Jr., who was acquired by New York in February.
They will also be partnered with Frank Ntilikina if he is not traded. He struggled last season, which led to the trade talks.
Since 1969, Zion Williamson — who was the No. 1 overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans — and Barrett became the sixth pairing of teammates to go in the top three. Former Kansas teammates Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid were the last to accomplish this in 2014.
They also join former Kentucky players Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in 2012. Former Connecticut players Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon went in the top three in 2004.
Also, former Duke players Jay Williams and Mike Dunleavy Jr. went in the top 3 in 2002. Former UCLA players Lew Alcindor and Lucius Allen went in the top 3 in 1969.
Barrett comes to a team that finished with a 17-65 record. They were 15th overall in the NBA Eastern Conference.
The Knicks averaged 104.6 points per game. However, their defense allowed 113.8 points per game.
New York had 30 different lineups in 2018-19. After Tim Hardaway Jr. was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, the Knicks played Kevin Knox out of position as the three with Luke Kornet at the 4.
With this selection, he should step in and be the three in the starting lineup from the beginning. This, of course, is if they cannot acquire Kawhi Leonard or Kevin Durant in free agency.
Barrett is presently the second Duke player on the Knicks roster. Lance Thomas is the other.
The Mississauga, Canada native — who went to Monteverde Academy in Florida — made 38 appearances, including 38 starts with the Blue Devils. He averaged 22.6 points per game, along with 7.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 35.3 minutes per game.