Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Knicks have dropped eight of their last nine. They're on pace to lose more than 50 games for the sixth straight season. There's uncertainty around the future of the front office and head coach. The young players from last season's team, by and large, haven't taken big steps forward this season.
So, no, there isn't much reason for the Knick fan to be optimistic at the moment
One of the few bright spots for the franchise in an otherwise brutal stretch has been the play of RJ Barrett.
The No. 3 overall pick has met or exceeded any realistic expectations this season.
And according to his godfather, Steve Nash, Barrett has much more to show.
Nash, a two-time MVP and Hall of Famer, was at Madison Square Garden on Saturday and took a few minutes to talk about Barrett after the Knicks' loss to Philadelphia.
Here are Nash's thoughts on his godson, which have been edited for clarity.
Q: What have you thought of Barrett's play so far?
Nash: "He's shown very much of what I thought he'd show. He's an incredibly talented, well-rounded basketball player. He does a bit of everything. I think he will evolve into a great playmaker because that's a natural ability for him that he doesn't necessarily get to shine in at this stage of his career, and this stage of this team. That's exciting for Knicks fans that he still produces, he's versatile, he can score. He's growing defensively. And for me, he's a natural playmaker and that hasn't been a part of his upside yet that's highlighted. So for the franchise, that's exciting."
Q: Would you have any advice for him on how to deal with the losing he's experienced this season?
Nash: "The NBA is a different animal. For him to do the best for himself and the franchise, he just needs to keep his head down and work to develop himself. He can't allow losing to deter him from continually pushing to be the best player he can be. And fortunately, that's the type of character and kid he is. And you have to find a way, when you're that competitive, to not allow losing to affect your plan. And as much as that's a challenge for him, he's equipped to do that. So I don't see it as an issue for him. I see that as something that has the potential to spur him on."
Q: You have played with a lot of NBA players. Is there anyone who RJ reminds you of?
Nash: "Who can he develop into? There's a ton of possibilities. I think RJ's physically not fully developed. I think he can improve his quickness off the mark. He's athletic when he gets momentum. But his quickness and dexterity from a standstill position is something that, he's so young, I think will improve. And his shooting has trended, for the last four or five years, up. I think when these things continue to trend up, we're talking about a player that has incredible potential."
Q: What have you thought of how aggressive he's been on the offensive end this season?
Nash: "He's been this way since he was a kid. He's just been aggressive and confident and had the mentality to attack. So in a sense, I'm incredibly impressed. And in a sense, I'm not surprised. Because that's the way he's always been. He believes and he's an incredibly talented young player. The hard thing about the NBA is these guys are so young. How do you contextualize where he's at, at his age? Because at 19, think about how much we changed from 19 to 20 to 21 to 22. We look under a microscope at their development, but the reality is they're continually developing and can be totally different people, let alone players, in six to 12 to 18 months."