2019 NBA Draft grades: New York Knicks earn an 'A' for selecting Duke's RJ Barrett with No. 3 overall pick
Barrett is headed to NY after the Knicks picked him at No. 3 overall on Thursday
The New York Knicks selected Duke one-and-done star RJ Barrett with the No. 3 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft and received a grade of an "A" from CBS Sports' Gary Parrish. Here's what Parrish had to say about Barrett:
I'm going to keep this simple: When you make the pick you're supposed to make, the pick that is the best option, I'm going to give it an A. I think Barrett is quite clearly at least the third-best prospect in this draft. And let's not forget: He was the No. 1 prospect for this draft at this time a year ago. Grade: A
As a freshman last season, Barrett led the Blue Devils in scoring and set a new ACC freshman scoring record with 860 total points while averaging 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
Barrett had long been linked to the Knicks when the lottery was sorted out in May, so Barrett falling to No. 3 was not a surprise. Initially, his teammate, Zion Williamson, was considered to be the target for New York going into the lottery, but they wound up at No. 3 despite the best lottery odds and with the other Duke star from last year's 32-win team as a result.
Don't let the circumstances fool you, though: he is more than a consolation. Coming out of high school, Barrett was ranked as the No. 1 overall recruit and entered 2018-19 as the preseason favorite to be drafted first overall in 2019. He has a pedigree that includes being a McDonald's All-American, a consensus First Team All-American, Mr. Basketball USA, the Gatorade National Player of the Year, and a gold medalist at the FIBA U19 World Cup with Canada. The list goes on.
While Barrett was sometimes ball-dominant and inefficient as a scorer in college, the NBA and the spacing it offers to a player with Barrett's game -- one centered around creating shots on the perimeter, occasionally herky-jerkying to create separation for passing lanes and for putting up points -- should benefit him tremendously.
As for the fit for Barrett in The Empire State, his college coach, Mike Krzyzewski, said Tuesday on SiriusXM that he believes he'll do well for himself.
"RJ will flourish here in New York," Krzyzewski said. "He wants to be here. He is so mature. He just turned 19 last Friday, but he's been a part of the Canadian basketball program since [he was] a little guy, always played up."
New York has been linked in recent months to a number of free agents and has two max salary slots to offer players like Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving or any number of the stars on the open market this summer. While we won't find out the fate of that future success (or failure), we do know that Barrett joins an intriguing young core that includes 2018 second round pick Mitchell Robinson as well as Dennis Smith Jr., Allonzo Trier and Kevin Knox.
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