Steve Nash shares candid reaction to coaching against godson RJ Barrett in Nets' 116-109 win over Knicks

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Garrett Stepien
·2 min read
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Steve Nash Knicks
Steve Nash Knicks

After the Nets recorded a 116-109 win over the Knicks, Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash and New York guard RJ Barrett shared a moment on the hardwood at MSG. Nash, Barrett's godfather, shared a candid reaction to watching Barrett from the perspective of the opposition.

"With RJ, it's weird because I pray for every shot of his to go in. And tonight, when you're playing against him, it puts that in a perilous position," Nash said. "But it's a pleasure to watch him grow and continue to develop, and he's still 20 years old and just finding his footing in this league.

"He's got a lot of tools and talent. And most importantly, he's a tough cookie. So it was a special experience for me to coach against him and I'm always rooting for him, and it's been a joy for me to watch him develop and play."

Around the same time last year, before becoming a first-time NBA head coach, Nash opened up about Barrett's rookie progression as the 2019 NBA Draft's No. 3 overall pick out of Duke.

"He's shown very much of what I thought he'd show," Nash told SNY's Ian Begley in January 2020. "He's an incredibly talented, well-rounded basketball player. He does a bit of everything. I think he will evolve into a great playmaker because that's a natural ability for him that he doesn't necessarily get to shine in at this stage of his career, and this stage of this team. That's exciting for Knicks fans that he still produces, he's versatile, he can score. He's growing defensively. And for me, he's a natural playmaker and that hasn't been a part of his upside yet that's highlighted. So for the franchise, that's exciting."

Barrett scored 20 points on 7-of-15 (46.7%) shooting while adding five rebounds and three assists in 38 minutes. As a rookie with the Knicks in 2019-20, Barrett started 55 of 56 games, averaging 14.3 points on 40.2% shooting and grabbing 5.0 rebounds in 30.4 minutes.

"I think it's going to be fun, just to go up against Uncle Steve," Barrett said Tuesday. "Grew up watching him and now, for him to be a coach, it's going to be a lot of fun. Also, they're very talented. They're a good team. They're trying to get back into their winning ways as well, so it's going to be a good battle."

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
New York
+525+11.5O 211.5
Utah
-770-11.5U 211.5