The New York Knicks showed that they were not a team to mess around with in the Eastern Conference last season, as they advanced to the second round of the NBA postseason for the first time since the 2012-13 season.
The New York Knicks attain one of the game's best point guards Jalen Brunson, along with All-NBA power forward Julius Randle. What they're missing though, is that consistent third star. That's what the Knicks need to take it to the next level in the upcoming season.
Could that third player be RJ Barrett? New York invested a lot in the 23-year-old small forward, as they selected him with the third overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Now entering his fifth season as a pro, it's time for the former Duke star to live up to the hype.
New York fans have seen Barrett play like an all-star, especially at points during the 2023 playoffs. The Knicks forward scored 20+ points six times throughout the postseason. He has always had the potential to be a legit difference maker, but his play is inconsistent at times.
For the Canadian native to take his game to the next level in the upcoming season, he needs to improve in certain areas. If Barrett can become an All-Star with the Knicks in the 2023-2024 season, then they will be one of the best teams in the entire league. For this to happen though, we need to see the 23-year-old get better in these three parts of his game.
NY Knicks: 3 ways RJ Barrett can elevate to become an All-Star
3. Barrett needs to become a knock-down 3-point shooter
The biggest flaw in Barrett's game is for sure his jump shot. His second season in the NBA was the only year he knocked down over 40% of his three-pointers. If the Knicks see an improvement behind the arc from the fifth-year forward, then they'll become an offensive juggernaut.
Brunson and Randle can get points on the board because they are threats behind the arc; which also opens up driving lanes for them as well. Creating space is the name of today's game, and the best way to create space is by hitting three-pointers.
Barrett is already a threat inside the paint, but if he can start knocking down those shots from behind the arc at a more consistent clip, then his scoring average would take a huge increase. The 23-year-old averages 24.3 points per game when he knocks down at least three threes in a game throughout his career.
Getting to the paint isn't a struggle for the Knicks wing, but he could certainly see improvement from deep. If Barrett can improve that shot, then New York's offense will see a major improvement from years prior.