RJ Barrett's shooting woes continue, but Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau not worried just yet

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RJ Barrett contested shot vs. Pacers
RJ Barrett contested shot vs. Pacers

RJ Barrett went 0-for-5 from beyond the arc on Monday in the Knicks’ loss to Charlotte. He’s missed 19 of his last 21 3-point attempts and is shooting 20 percent from long distance on the season.

Still, Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks aren’t concerned about Barrett’s shooting.

“Yup. I think it will eventually come. I think as long as he’s taking (the) right ones, it’s a big part of the NBA game — understanding the value of those shots. But there are a lot of other things he does well,” Thibodeau said before Monday’s game. “Putting it on the floor, drawing more than one defender, spraying it out, finishing in the restricted, drawing fouls, things that can get you high value shots. We want him to play an all-around game. He can post the ball, he can drive the ball well. And I think as time goes on he’ll shoot the ball better and better from the perimeter.”

Perimeter shooting is seen as one of the keys for Barrett’s development. If he can become a threat from the outside, it would open things up for Barrett and the Knicks on offense.

Thus far in Year 2, New York hasn’t seen consistent shooting from Barrett – the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

He made seven of nine attempts in two games against the Pacers earlier this season. But outside of those two games, he hasn’t been able to shoot with much consistency yet.

“I’m fine, honestly,” Barrett said Monday night. “Just a tough game, another tough game. Like I said, as long as we have 72 of them, every night’s not gonna be your night. Just gotta get back to the lab.”

Rivers not panicking

Veteran PG Austin Rivers is staying positive amid the Knicks’ three-game losing streak. He pointed out on Monday night that New York is 5-6 after opening the season with one of the toughest schedules in the NBA.

According to ESPN, the Knicks entered Monday’s game with the fifth-toughest schedule in the NBA.

“We’ve played most of the best teams in the NBA," Rivers said. "Everybody needs to just take a deep breath, look at what we’re doing wrong and right and then let’s just get back out there. We just got to keep going. We’ve got half our team out with injury. So guys have to step up.

“We have to be better, though. Our defense has been horrendous, which has led us to bad offense. We’ve got to do a better job in the half court with the zone. That’s not on the coaches — at all — by the way. It’s not on them at all. They put the game plan out there. We’ve got to do a better job. ... We’re young and we’re getting better. We’ll figure it out. Just got to keep going. Just everybody stay with us and stay patient.”

Zone reads: 

Teams have employed zone defenses against New York regularly this season. The Knicks rank 17th in 3-point field goal percentage. Thibodeau said Monday that his team is passing up open looks against the zone.

“We have to get into the gaps, make the right reads, get into the ball. And not hesitate when we’re open,” he said. “And oftentimes we’re passing up a wide open shot. And in this league when you do that, you end up with a shot that’s not as good. And so if we’re open, we’re going to shoot.”