The New York Knicks got their man in R.J. Barrett. But was their No. 3 pick overall actually a good one, or maybe the best pick in the 2019 NBA Draft?
New York Knicks fans reacted drastically different to their first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft compared to the last time the team selected in the top five. In 2015, Knicks faithful booed as David Silver announced Kristaps Porzingis would be the team’s prized rookie. When R.J. Barrett predictably was called, fans hollered with delight.
And so they should. Once the top overall prospect in his high school draft class, Barrett is not just an obvious selection at No. 3, but a potential steal. His 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game last year were impressive and he he was a consensus first-team All-American as a freshman.
Barrett probably had the quietest record-setting season, in part because his team was stacked with talent, and in part because one of those talents happened to be Zion Williamson.
While Williamson awed the college basketball world, it was Barrett’s steady play that helped Duke navigate through a challenging ACC season. After all of that, he lasted in the draft room for a good 15 minutes before New York selected him with the No. 3 pick. Zion should have gone first. Barrett should have been considered pick “1-A.”
Here is why the Knicks made the obvious and unquestionably great pick at No. 3.