“For the people that are trying to look down on him, RJ’s been through worse,” Williamson told SNY.
Williamson and Barrett were teammates at Duke and both were selected in the top three — by the Pelicans and Knicks, respectively — of the 2019 NBA Draft. Williamson was asked about Barrett during a recent interview with SNY.
“(Knicks fans) can expect that they’re getting a killer,” Williamson told SNY.
Barrett averaged 22.6 points per game as a freshman for the Blue Devils in 2018-19. But, he shot just 30.8% from 3-point range and was inconsistent during summer league last month, leading some to speculate he’ll struggle with New York.
“For the people that are trying to look down on him, RJ’s been through worse,” Williamson said. “He knows how to battle through it and he’s going to bring the city everything he’s got.”
The Knicks’ roster underwent a major overhaul this summer. They had reportedly been pursuing stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, however, both signed with the cross-town rival Nets.
New York then went on to sign Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton, Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis.
“When it comes to everything on the court with the fan base and everything, I just feel like I went to Duke and we got a lot of attention,” Barrett told reporters in late June about playing in New York. “Being in New York there’s going to be a lot more, but I’ve just been built this way to handle it.
“I’m a player that plays with a lot of passion, competitiveness and excitement, so to be able to go in a home arena (Madison Square Garden) that has such a great fan base like that is going to make the game so much more fun. It’s going to be great.”
The Knicks finished 2018-19 with a 17-65 record and missed the playoffs for a sixth straight season.