Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
RJ Barrett talked about his first Summer League practice, his first matchup against the Pelicans and Zion Williamson in Las Vegas and his role on the Knicks in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.
Barrett, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft who signed his rookie contract on Tuesday, will be one of the focal points of the upcoming Knicks season after they didn't land their top targets in free agency.
When asked about that, the rookie downplayed the idea.
"I think it's a team, we've got a squad," he said after his first Summer League practice. "I'm just a rookie coming in. I'm just trying to learn and do as much as I can to help the team."
With Kevin Durant in Brooklyn, the Knicks will continue to build their young core of Barrett, Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier and Mitchell Robinson. They've added Julius Randle, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson thus far in free agency.
As we learned over the last 72 hours, the best way for the Knicks to push forward is to build their young core into something formidable. So the development of Barrett, Knox and the other young players will be pivotal.
The group will play its first summer league game on Friday against Pelicans rookie and No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. Barrett said he laughed when he found out his first game would be against his former Duke teammate.
"It's funny that my first game ever in a uniform is against my guy so, just really excited to play," he said.
Barrett said his first Summer League practice was "high intensity" and "a lot of fun."
"I was just really trying to learn. That's really what I came in for," he said.
Barrett also recently appeared at the NBA's Awards show in Los Angeles and presented the Rookie of the Year award to Luka Doncic.
"The NBA awards was great. Hopefully, that's me getting the award next year. So it was great to experience that," he said.