RJ Barrett is officially a New York Knick.
The Knicks drafted the former Duke star with the third overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft, adding a young, dynamic player they hope they help bring them into a brighter future.
Barrett had been the presumptive choice for the Knicks ever since the draft lottery.
Barrett’s former Duke teammate, Zion Williamson, went No. 1 overall to the New Orleans Pelicans, which was essentially a lock. Former Murray State point guard Ja Morant went second to the Memphis Grizzlies.
By being drafted by the Knicks, Barrett got his wish.
The 19-year-old hasn’t hidden the fact that he wants to play in New York City. He has family in Brooklyn and he visited every summer growing up.
Barrett said Wednesday his grandfather was “the biggest Knick fan” and always told him he’d play for the team one day.
And his New York connections run deeper than that.
Barrett’s father, Rowan, played basketball at St. John’s and his mother, Kesha, ran track for the Queens school.
The Knicks were the only team that Barrett worked out for in the weeks leading up to the draft.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said earlier this week on SiriusXM Radio that his former player would “flourish” in New York.
In the 6-foot-7 Barrett the Knicks get a high-level scorer. He averaged 22.6 points at Duke while shooting 45.4% from the field and 30.8% from 3-point range.
The questions about his game mostly center around his production from the perimeter, but most evaluators believe he can improve that in the NBA.
Barrett averaged 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists in his one-and-done college season. He’s a playmaker as much as he’s a scorer, with the potential to be an impact player right away at the next level.
Barrett was the top-rated recruit in the country coming out of Montverde Academy in Florida, and most prognosticators projected him as the best player available in this year’s draft.
Then Williamson, a generational talent, came along and that changed.
Barrett is the Knicks’ highest draft pick since they took Patrick Ewing first overall in 1985.
The Knicks can only dream Barrett has anything close to the impact that Ewing had.