Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Dwyane Wade, one of the best shooting guards in NBA history, offers his take on Knicks rookie shooting guard RJ Barrett:
"I love a kid that wants to take the challenge. RJ really wanted to be a Knick. You guys know that that's been a tough challenge for a lot of players that had the opportunity to choose to go to New York and they haven't. He took it (head) on and said I want to be a Knick. I give him a lot of respect for that," Wade said during a conference call to announce his role as an analyst on NBA on TNT Tuesday Night telecasts.
Wade is likely referring to the free agents who have spurned the Knicks over the last 10 years. Since Barrett was drafted by the team -- short of holding out and refusing to sign with the Knicks -- he didn't have much of a choice about where he played as a rookie. But in the weeks leading up to the draft, Barrett made it clear that he wanted to be a Knick.
The 6-6 guard/forward is averaging 14.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steal per game for New York. He's currently out for at least a week due to an ankle sprain.
"He's having a good rookie season. In that city, having a coaching change, playing different positions that he's played throughout the year, it's been up and down. But that's what a lot of rookie seasons is," said Wade, whose first appearance on TNT Tuesdays is Jan. 28. "But I really love that kid. I heard his work ethic is amazing. And he's one of the best individuals that you can be around. So I look forward to continuing to follow his career."
Wade is sad for Fiz
Wade and ex-Knicks coach David Fizdale are extremely close from their time together with the Miami Heat. Here's what Wade said about Fizdale's Knicks tenure, which ended when he was fired in early December.
"Obviously coach Fizdale is a great friend of mine. And you don't want to see your friend get fired or let go or anything of that nature. So it's unfortunate," Wade said of the current NBA analyst for ESPN. "I wasn't really a part of what was going on. The toughest part of being a coach nowadays is if something goes wrong, it's automatically the coach's fault. And sometimes you get put into a program like New York that is really trying to build something, you need time to build it. And nowadays, coaches don't really get that time. But New York moves on, Fizdale moves on. And we'll see what he does with his next opportunity."
Wade will be joined by Shaquille O'Neal and two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker on TNT's Tuesday night telecast. The studio show will be hosted by Bleacher Report's Adam Lefkoe; Hall of Famer Steve Nash -- the godfather of Barrett -- will contribute studio segments.
Ian Eagle and Brian Anderson will be among the play-by-play voices and the analysts will include Stan Van Gundy and Jim Jackson. The first slate of games for TNT will be Celtics-Heat and Clippers-Lakers.
From player to analyst
Wade said he won't try to sugarcoat anything when analyzing the game. But he pointed out, lightheartedly, that his personality is a bit different than TNT analyst Charles Barkley's. Barkley never hesitates to offer pointed criticisms of teams and players.
"When it comes to my friends, I'm going to talk the game of basketball and I'm going to try to be fair to everyone," Wade said. "I'm not going to sugarcoat things. I just hope people know I'm not going to be saying things with ill intentions, I'm just going to be saying things based on how I see the game. I will not be perfect, I will make some mistakes, but my personality is a little different from others and I try to approach things with constructive criticism."