LOS ANGELES – The Knicks must bring Steve Nash to all RJ Barrett road games.
When his godfather watched Barrett live for the first time in his NBA career, Barrett released one of his best games of his rookie season on Sunday.
Barrett, the third choice in the NBA selection, made his first five shots and ended with 24 points and six rebounds in the Knicks' defeat by 135-132 against the Clippers.
At only 38.4 percent, Barrett was most efficient, taking seven out of eleven strokes and looking like a handful that came to the brink with erratic moves.
Nash's and Barrett's father, Rowan, were friends with Team Canada and have been friends for years.
"I thought he played very well," Nash said to The Post at Staples Center. "I am incredibly proud. It is remarkable to see him play at this level when he is 19 years old. You see so much upside potential. He will have an exciting career."
Barrett and Nash had dinner here on Saturday night and wanted to spend time together after the game.
"It was cool to catch up," said Barrett. "He said he was happy to see me go through some adversity. He said it would make me better in the long run. It was nice to see him."
Barrett's rookie season was a bit up and down as he had many horrible shooting nights behind him. In the previous game in Phoenix, he was 3 out of 10 – 1 out of 6 from below. He also has problems with the free throw line (55.4 percent).
Even worse, the player elected in front of him, Point Guard Ja Morant, was the runaway rookie of the year honors and ended Saturday with a 22-point game with nine assists in a Grizzlies win over the Clippers.
"Look, he's 19 and he's doing this for the first time," said the Hall of Fame point keeper. "He belongs to a team that is new and relatively unknown. It is a total change of landscape and it is a work in progress. I would still expect disagreements. But he played so well in so many moments, the future is real very, very rosy. And with his professionalism and maturity, I see him no less than a fantastic NBA player. "
It is exhilarating praise from one of the smartest players who have played on the pitch in modern times. When asked about his influence on the former Duke star, Nash said: "It's more Rowan. He did all of this. I hope I was a good influence and role model. I'll be here whenever he needs me."
Barrett said he hoped Nash would see him playing in the garden this season. When Barrett was 14 years old and couldn't stop Nash, he tried to lure Nash onto the field to repeat his duels.
"He said he's too old," said Barrett.