NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 17: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks drives toward the basket past De'Andre Hunter #12 of the Atlanta Hawks during the second half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 17, 2019 in New York City.
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett’s mental approach to the game of basketball is impressing interim head coach Mike Miller.

After Monday’s practice, New York Knicks coach Mike Miller had some nice words to say about rookie RJ Barrett’s approach to the game. As reported by Ian Begley of SNY, Miller noted that Barrett’s strong mindset has been clear since the Summer League.

“It stands out. I think he’s unique. That’s one of his skills,” Miller said. “It’s things that can be taught and learned with experience but he walks in as a young guy and he has that. You have to give him credit and the people that have worked with him and how he has developed that at a young age.”

“We saw that in Summer League,” he added. “He was the first one ready to come right back in and want to play the next day. It didn’t matter how it went the day before. He plays that way from one play to the next, from one quarter to the next quarter, from one half to the next half. It’s a good thing.”

Barrett is always ready to hit the reset button and give 100% despite what might’ve happened in the previous quarter, half, or game. He’s also incredibly competitive, regardless of the score or how he himself is playing.

What makes his mental toughness and ability to start fresh especially impressive is the fact that he’s so young. It’s usually irrational to expect a 19-year-old to not carry a heavy mental load. Nonetheless, Barrett has excelled in that regard.

The fact that he’s on a team that’s withstood some drama this season is not easy either. He lost his first coach in a chaotic sequence of events. Not to mention, he’s on a rebuilding team that could see many of its players leave at various points this season.

Most players that are 19, on a team as struggling as the Knicks, and in a market as large as New York would crumble. Therefore, the orange and blue are very lucky with Barrett.

His mentality is translating to his play, as Barrett has been great recently. He’s scored 19 or more points in three of his last six games. Against the New Orleans Pelicans, he finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Barrett was crucial in helping the Knicks secure a win against the overachieving Miami Heat on Sunday. In the victory, he registered 23 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.