Is RJ Barrett the new face of the New York Knicks?

RJ Barrett speaks to the media
A tired RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks speaking to the media after a career night at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson for rolling out)

RJ Barrett scored a career-high of 46 points against the Miami Heat on Friday, Feb. 25 at Madison Square Garden. Is Barrett the new face of the team? Some seem to think so or believe he will be, including Jimmy Butler.

“He’s going to be the face of the Knicks,” Butler said of Barrett after witnessing his explosion on offense. “He was attacking every chance he got in transition. Getting to the cup, getting to the free-throw line, making the three-ball. He had a hell of a game, all-around game at that, but we all know he’s capable of that. I don’t think anybody is surprised or should be surprised. He’s definitely going to be playing in this league for a long time.”

Julius Randle, the leader in points, rebounds, and assists for the Knicks this season, also talked about Barrett’s performance.

“He was really good,” the former NBA All-Star said. “He shot the three-ball really well. When you shoot 22 free throws, you’ll always score some points there. He was good, aggressive.”

Barrett, who is only 21, discussed not only his great game but playing the best basketball of his young career.

“I kind of feel like I spoke it into existence,” Barrett said of his performance. “I came back Sunday night [after the NBA All-Star break] so, I’ve been working all week.”

Barrett also explained why he is playing the best basketball of his young career.

“I think I’ve been able to figure out one [reason], just adjusting to playing with new teammates, having three new guys in the starting lineup,” he explained. “… I kind of know my spots now and how to score in other ways or how to be aggressive in other ways,” Barrett said.

He then elaborated on those other reasons for his great play.

“Getting rebounds, running the floor, post-ups, I’m just trying to add little things to my game, Barret said.

Finally, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau discussed Barrett’s play of late.

“He had a great month last month, playing great basketball,” Thibodeau said. “[He] picked up, played very aggressively. It’s a good sign he’s growing. It’s great. Downhill, tapping the basket, shooting the ball, shot the ball at the three, opened up the drive, all-around play. Very good, very good.”

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