SPANISH HARLEM – Here I am, watching the New York Knicks play the Charlotte Hornets and I’m feeling really good about it. While it’s at the wrong time, as the playoffs are pretty much out of reach, there is reason for hope. Maybe not with this particular group but there are pieces that you can be excited about.
One in particular, is RJ Barrett. I can’t say enough about his play recently. It’s exciting to see that growth in a player while it’s happening right before your eyes. He is playing with a different more aggressive mentality and it has suited him well. His 3-point shooting is above average at 35% and while it isn’t as high his percentage last year (40%), it shows that he will develop into someone that can be very difficult to game plan against. There is no hesitation from Barrett to get to the rim and his foul calls have increased because of it. If he can be a better free throw shooter, your looking at someone who can put up 25 to 28 points a game with great defense. Thats a star in the making type of player.
Another favorite of mine lately and beloved by Knick fans, Obi Toppin, has been playing very well of late and showing improved 3-point shooting. Is that something that can last? Maybe. If there is something that has hindered Toppin, it’s his minutes on the court. With Tom Thibodeau playing Julius Randle big minutes, its difficult to get the type of minutes you want for a former lottery pick. The ability and agility is there to be a good one but he needs to develop his game on the court and not just in practice. I don’t know if the Knicks try to move Randle in the off-season but if they do, I think this team will be in good hands with Obi.
Finally, I’ll end with Immanuel Quickley, who did not start the season playing well and that continued through out the season. If you asked him, he would certainly say he expected more from himself in year two and it wasn’t easy losing minutes because you couldn’t contribute the way you wanted to. With that, he is another player that has played much better since his minutes increased due to injuries. He is the type of player that can get hot from 3 and I think for most of the year he wanted to be more of a passer, which hindered his knack for scoring in bunches. He seems more comfortable with himself on the court now and it is showing in his play.
That’s it for now, come back tomorrow for Cam James.
Until next time…