RJ Barrett said he didn’t get any welcome-to-the-NBA moments in his first official workout, but noted his friend and fellow rookie, Iggy Brazdeikis did.
“I think Dennis [Smith Jr.] threw a lob and Kenny [Wooten] punched it on him,” Barrett said. “He was in a bad spot. He was in a bad spot.”
Barrett has been working out with most of the team for weeks now, but he was happy to finally get to work under the tutelage of the coaching staff.
“It’s still a practice, a lot of learning and teaching going on,” Barrett said. “It’s great, especially for me, a young guy, trying to soak it up.
“We got the vets here, big strong guys, so it’s definitely a different level of physicality. I’m going to get used to it. I’ve got a good body,” he added, showing off his muscles.
“Yeah, that was the good part of the summer and the people that we signed,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said. “We signed some real tough pros, guys that have played in playoff games, guys that have been through this league, the ups and downs of it. To have those kind of guys around here for all of those young guys I felt is a really good thing.”
In defense of Randle
Fizdale had the team focus on defense, including finishing up the session with every player competing with full court one-on-one sessions. The Knicks highest-priced acquisition this summer, Julius Randle, has been criticized for his play on that end of the floor, but Fizdale said he is arriving with a clean slate.
“I mean, I’ve heard it before, but I’m not here to take what other people have judged guys on,” Fizdale said. “I’ve got to coach him to be his best. And that’s all I care about, making all these guys the best defensive players they can be.”
Barrett was asked about seeing Carmelo Anthony when the former Knicks star joined the team for a scrimmage last month and the rookie was relieved to have Anthony on his team in the practice session. Asked how Anthony looked, he shook his head.
“He was good, he was good,” Barrett said. “I mean it’s Carmelo Anthony, come on.”