Stephen A. Smith is one of the biggest New York Knicks fans out there, and he has never shied away from criticizing the team and its players when they are not playing well. On Wednesday, he’s back at it again, this time with RJ Barrett as his focus.
The veteran sports commentator didn’t hold back in expressing his belief that the Knicks should let Barrett sit out their first round playoffs series with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Stephen A. highlighted how ineffective Barrett has been against the Cavs, so he believes it’ll benefit the team more if he’s not on the floor.
Stephen A. Smith tried to be respectful to Barrett, emphasizing that he’s still not at that level where he can thrive in any match-up. He’s not saying he’ll never reach that point, but as things currently stand, the Canadian youngster is being more detrimental to the team.
“He might need to sit down for this series, every series ain’t for everybody,” Smith said of Barrett on ESPN First Take, via New York Basketball. “The great ones, the really, really good ones can play in any series. But there are others, you just don’t have that kind of game. And if you evaluated R.J, perfectly for this series, he don’t need to be seeing the floor. He ain’t made for this series. He just don’t have that type of game. Not yet.”
To Stephen A. Smith’s point, RJ Barrett has really struggled in the 2023 playoffs against the Cavs. Through two games, he’s averaging just 10.5 points on 24.0 percent shooting from the field–and that’s while playing 32.2 minutes a night. He scored just seven points in Game 1 and doubled it in Game 2, but his shooting has just been horrible.
Perhaps head coach Tom Thibodeau might want to consider Stephen A’s suggestion. After all, with the series tied at 1-1, the Knicks cannot afford to take risks.
ESPN Stephen A Smith on RJ Barrett: “He might need to sit down for this series”
On Game 3: “Wait till they roll up in the Garden…New York Knicks got this. Friday night. Cleveland, no chance“ pic.twitter.com/Eka2l4cCwc
— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) April 19, 2023
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