3. Less pressure for R.J. Barrett
The Knicks were one of many teams negatively affected by the new draft lottery system. They finished with the league’s worst record and were tied for the best odds of landing Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick, but they fell to No. 3 overall pick, where they selected R.J. Barrett.
Barrett was the top-ranked recruit in the 2018 high school class, according to ESPN, but lived in Williamson’s shadow for the majority of his freshman season at Duke. Barrett averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game on .454/.308/.665 shooting splits while setting the ACC freshman scoring record with 860 points.
Barrett is the Knicks’ first top-three selection since Patrick Ewing in 1985. Rightfully so, the Knicks see Barrett as the face of the franchise. That said, he will have a ton of weight on his shoulders entering his first season, so adding strong young talent around him would help ease him into the league.
The team’s young core currently consists of Allonzo Trier, Damyean Dotson, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilkina, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson. Come July 30, insert Randle. The Knicks would finally have an established young player that can take some pressure off Barrett’s shoulders.
Randle turns 25 in November and has had four productive NBA seasons thus far. He has career averages of 15.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game on 50.2 percent shooting. His combination of youth and experience would not only help Barrett begin his career, but also lift the Knicks out of the gutters of the NBA.