NBA

Knicks have a 'killer' in Barrett, says Williamson

By Sports Desk August 11, 2019

Zion Williamson believes RJ Barrett will thrive in the NBA.

Williamson and Barrett were team-mates at Duke and both were selected in the top three – by the New Orleans Pelicans and New York Knicks respectively – of the 2019 NBA Draft.

Williamson was asked about Barrett during a recent interview with SNY.

"[Knicks fans] can expect that they're getting a killer," Williamson said.

Barrett averaged 22.6 points per game as a freshman for the Blue Devils in 2018-19. But, he shot just 30.8 per cent from three-point range and was inconsistent during summer league last month, leading some to speculate he will struggle with New York.

"For the people that are trying to look down on him, RJ's been through worse," Williamson said.

"He knows how to battle through it and he's going to bring the city everything he's got."

The Knicks' roster underwent a major overhaul this offseason. They had reportedly been pursuing stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, however, both signed with the cross-town rival Brooklyn Nets.

New York then went on to sign Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton, Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis.

"When it comes to everything on the court with the fan base and everything, I just feel like I went to Duke and we got a lot of attention," Barrett told reporters in late June about playing in New York.

"Being in New York there's going to be a lot more, but I've just been built this way to handle it.

"I'm a player that plays with a lot of passion, competitiveness and excitement, so to be able to go in a home arena [Madison Square Garden] that has such a great fan base like that is going to make the game so much more fun. It's going to be great."

The Knicks finished 2018-19 with a 17-65 record and missed the playoffs for a sixth straight season.

Related items

  • Spurs set jersey retirement date for Tony Parker Spurs set jersey retirement date for Tony Parker
  • James Harden a better scorer than Michael Jordan – Rockets GM James Harden a better scorer than Michael Jordan – Rockets GM

    Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey believes James Harden is a better scoring than NBA and Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan.

    Harden is fresh off the best offensive season of his career after averaging 36.1 point and 7.5 assists in 78 appearances for a Rockets team who were dependent on his ability to draw fouls and crafty shot making.

    The 2017-18 MVP led the NBA in scoring last season and tallied the league's highest points per game average since Jordan averaged 37.1 points during the 1986-87 season.

    Most basketball fans agree that Jordan is the greatest of all time, but Morey would argue Harden has a leg up on the sport's most iconic player in one area.

    "It's just factual that James Harden is a better scorer than Michael Jordan," Morey said on the 'Selfmade with Nadeshot' podcast.

    Morey is the creator of Houston's analytics-based offensive system known as "Moreyball" and says statistics make him ranking Harden above Jordan logical.

    "Based on literally, like you give James Harden the ball and before you're giving up the ball how many points do you generate? Which is how you should measure offense. James Harden is by far number one in NBA history," Morey said.

    Harden has been an All-Star in each of his seven seasons with the Rockets, has led the league in possessions per game for the last three campaigns and has won the last two scoring titles. 

    The argument for Jordan being the better offensive player stems from the fact that basketball has evolved. The game is faster, players shoot more and scoring is up. But Morey is holding onto his beliefs.

    "The counterargument is reasonable," Morey said. "They say if you put Michael Jordan on a team now he would do more than James Harden. That's possible. But if you're just saying: 'NBA history, if you give this guy the ball, how much does his team score after you give him the ball before the other team gets the ball?' It's James Harden. And I know that makes people mad, but it's literally a fact."

    The Rockets have had plenty of success in the regular season with Harden as the centrepiece but have yet to reach the NBA Finals during his time in Houston.

    But the Rockets shipped off Chris Paul and an assortment of future draft picks to bring in the 2016-17 MVP in Russell Westbrook.

    The Rockets have two elite, high-usage guards on their team, and Morey believes Harden alongside a triple-double machine like Westbrook can get Houston over the hump.

  • Billionaire Joseph Tsai becomes sole owner of Nets Billionaire Joseph Tsai becomes sole owner of Nets

    Billionaire Joseph Tsai has finalised a deal that makes him the sole owner of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, the team announced on Friday.

    Tsai, 55, already owned 49 per cent of the Nets, which he bought for $1billion last year.

    Reports this week said he is buying the remaining 51 per cent from Mikhail Prokhorov for $1.35billion, valuing the franchise at $2.35billion.

    The deal must be approved by the NBA's board of governors and is expected to be completed by the end of September, the franchise said.

    "I've had the opportunity to witness up close the Brooklyn Nets rebuild that Mikhail started a few years ago," Tsai - worth an estimated $9.7billion according to Forbes - said in a statement.

    "He hired a front office and coaching staff focused on player development, he supported the organisation with all his resources, and he refused to tank.

    "I will be the beneficiary of Mikhail's vision, which put the Nets in a great position to compete, and for which I am incredibly grateful."

    Tsai's deal for the Nets would represent the largest price paid for a United States sports team in history, surpassing the $2.2billion purchases of the Carolina Panthers and the Houston Rockets.

    Last season, Brooklyn finished with a 42-40 record but have renewed hope because of huge off-season acquisitions of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

    Durant signed a four-year, $164million deal with the team, while Irving signed a four-year, $141m deal.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.