New York Knicks coach David Fizdale sees some Kawhi Leonard in RJ Barrett. Not because Barrett's skill set is similar to that of the two-time Finals MVP, but because of how "put together" he is.
"There's times he's not sweating and I'm like, 'Are you going hard?'" Fizdale said when asked if Barrett can handle playing big minutes. "But he is. He's playing really hard. The only other guy I saw who I've coached against that doesn't look like is breaking a sweat is Kawhi. Kawhi doesn't look like he's breathing (hard). RJ has that same act where he's out there, his face doesn't change and he's going about his business.''
"He's never out of it - no matter how he starts a game he finds a way to impact the game in a big way,'' Fizdale continued. "It's hard to take him off the floor. He does so much for us."
The No. 3 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Barrett has gotten his NBA career off to a strong start. He's leading the Knicks in scoring with 17.7 points per game through nearly two weeks of the season, doing so on 44.1 percent shooting from the field and 39.1 percent from 3-point range.
The Canadian scored 21 points in his debut and recorded his first double-double less than a week later, going for 19 points and 15 rebounds in a win over the Chicago Bulls.
A popular NBA comparison for Barrett leading up to the draft was another former Toronto Raptor, DeMar DeRozan. Similar to DeRozan, Barrett is a big guard who lives in the paint. He's not the shooter DeRozan is, but he's flashed some potential as a three-level scorer, both in college and the NBA.
Barrett has already played one game against DeRozan in his NBA career. His first opportunity to play Leonard will be on Jan. 5, when the LA Clippers host the Knicks.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.