Monday night was the preseason opener for several teams with high lottery picks in the 2019 NBA Draft, including the New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Canadian RJ Barrett, the third overall pick in the Draft, made his debut in the Knicks' opener against the Washington Wizards at the Capital One Arena, showing plenty of promise.
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In the team's 104-99 win, he played a game-high 40 minutes and finished with a team-high 17 points (tied with Marcus Morris). He also recorded seven rebounds and three assists.
He shot a solid 6-of-13 (46.2%) from the field and went 2-of-6 (33.3%) from beyond the arc, while only contributing two turnovers to the team's 15 - impressive, considering the number of minutes he played.
Barrett impacted the game on both ends of the floor, especially in the third quarter, where he recorded with nine points, two assists, two rebounds and one steal in the period.
After playing all but eight minutes of the game, Barrett wasn't fazed by the workload, earning plenty of praise from head coach David Fizdale after the win.
"He's just fearless. The thing I was most proud of is how he competed defensively," Coach Fizdale said. "Bradley Beal is one of the best two-guards in this league and RJ really took the challenge to battle him but when the game started getting a little lop-sided there, you could just see when the lights are on this kid has the edge to him and he just took over the game for a stretch."
"When the lights are on, this kid has an edge to him" - David Fizdale on RJ Barrett pic.twitter.com/R72TprCGGh- Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) October 8, 2019
This was the 19-year-old's first competitive basketball against NBA level talent since the Las Vegas Summer League in July, where he finished with averages of 15.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists on 34% shooting from the field in five games.
Barrett and the Knicks will face the Wizards again on Friday night at 7 PM ET, but this time at Madison Square Garden.