RJ Barrett becoming Knicks’ Ironman with durability, mental toughness

1 year ago 114

After Knicks swingman RJ Barrett lines up for the team’s back-to-back connected Sunday and Monday, against the Cavaliers and 76ers, helium volition person played successful his 97th and 98th consecutive games. 

That fig would summation to 103 if you were to number 5 playoff games past spring. 

Barrett’s streak of 5 consecutive 20-plus-point games entering Sunday’s matchup is eye-opening, but his durability often gets overlooked. Analytics gurus continually disregard games-played statistic successful each their calculations. 

Barrett, who played successful each 72 regular-season games past season, said helium ne'er missed a crippled astatine Duke oregon successful precocious schoolhouse either. Not lone does the erstwhile No. 3 prime look to beryllium connected way for All-Star honors 1 day, but he’s New York’s hoops Ironman. 

“Honestly we person a large unit here,’’ said Barrett, who scored 20 points Friday and 10 successful the 3rd 4th to assistance the Knicks’ epic rally to a 113-98 triumph successful Milwaukee. “Just taking attraction of your body, listening to your body. Knowing erstwhile to spell to the gym and shoot, erstwhile to get treatment. Just knowing your assemblage and getting enactment successful each day.’’ 

Barrett’s rookie twelvemonth showed hints of his staying power. He missed 1 crippled with an unwellness and sat retired a nine-game agelong with an ankle sprain and that was it. In a Knicks play chopped abbreviated by the pandemic, Barrett played successful 56 of 66 games. 

“I deliberation it’s besides conscionable intelligence toughness being capable to play done small things,’’ Barrett said. “There’s ever going to beryllium small things that fuss you and conscionable being capable to get the attraction and propulsion done it.’’ 

RJ Barrett's durability has go  1  of his champion  traits done  his young NBA career.RJ Barrett’s durability has go 1 of his champion traits done his young NBA career.AP

In 9 games this season, Barrett is averaging 19.4 points 5.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, shooting 47.4 percent from the tract and 40.3 percent from 3. 

Some precocious draught picks are successful large signifier and built for hoops for the agelong haul. That is the 1 country Barrett’s Duke buddy, Zion Williamson, must enactment on. 

In his Westchester Knicks debut Friday, two-way subordinate Luka Samanic scored 17 points successful 19 minutes, making 7 of 10 shots — each successful the archetypal half. Samanic appeared to sprain his ankle precocious successful the 2nd 4th and didn’t play the 2nd fractional of a 107-103 nonaccomplishment to Capital City. Samanic past sat retired the rematch Saturday vs. Capital City.

Samanic, a Croatian powerfulness forward, was selected 19th successful the 2019 draught by the Spurs, who waived him during grooming camp. The Knicks signed him to a two-way contract, though manager Tom Thibodeau said helium expected Samanic to beryllium successful the G-League chiefly this season. 

Meanwhile, rookie shooting defender MJ Walker, retired of Florida State, scored 20 points and Aamir Sims added 15. Walker and Sims, who did good successful grooming camp, would’ve been the different two-way signee until Samanic got unexpectedly waived.