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RJ Barrett

Mar 16, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett (5) hugs forward Zion Williamson (1) after defeating the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC conference tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports (Jeremy Brevard)
Mar 16, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett (5) hugs forward Zion Williamson (1) after defeating the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC conference tournament at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports (Jeremy Brevard)

Despite not playing in an NBA regular season game yet, Zion Williamson is already being asked about potentially leaving New Orleans.

In a recent interview with Complex, the No.1 overall pick opened up about his new team, as well as his relationship with Knicks rookie RJ Barrett. Williamson was asked if he has ever thought about what it would be like to reunite at some point with his former Duke teammate.

"Yeah, we talked about it in college a lot," Williamson said. "We kinda talked about it as we were both going to get our careers started and see how it goes. I mean, if we can possibly link up in the future, that would be great. But we both understand that if things are going well in our prospective cities, we'll just kind of leave it there."

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After being drafted by the Knicks third overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, oddsmakers have given RJ Barrett the third-best chance to win the 2019-2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

At +550, Barrett slots in right behind the two players drafted before him, former Duke teammate Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, according to OddsShark.com. Williamson's odds are listed at -135, far and away the favorite, while Morant comes in at +300. 

Cam Reddish, the third Duke player drafted in the Top 10 this year, has odds listed at +5000, where he's tied along with Jaxson HayesTyler Herro and Mfiondu Kabengele

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The Knicks entered the summer with major aspirations and a blank checkbook, coming out the other side without their franchise-altering superstar but a deep roster of legitimate NBA talent. Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Marcus Morris, Elfrid Payton, Reggie Bullock and Wayne Ellington signed via free agency, while R.J. Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis were picked up in the draft, joining a young core of Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr. and others. 

This crop of developing players showed their worth over the past few weeks at Las Vegas Summer League, and are key to New York's continued rebuild. However, the dearth of more established contributors will make getting everybody their due minutes difficult.

These veterans were signed to build up their own and the organization's reputation through their play and to potentially be moved on their flexible deals. Here's how the Knicks may be able to accomplish that while still allowing their inexperienced pieces enough burn to grow. 

Tags: Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, Wayne Ellington
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Jul 9, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) dribbles during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Toronto Raptors at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)
Jul 9, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett (9) dribbles during the second half of an NBA Summer League game against the Toronto Raptors at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

Contrary to what social media might tell you, RJ Barrett is not a bust. Let me be the one to offer the short list of reasons why. He's 19 years old, playing basketball for the first time in a few months, and has just three games under his belt … in the Summer League.

Now, exhale.

First impressions are everything, and Barrett's wasn't exactly pretty. In his first two games, he made just 21 percent (7-for-33) of his shots and went 2-for-13 from beyond the arc. His shot selection, turnovers and, well, a lot, were rough.

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