Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
A few notes from the Knicks' practice on Monday ahead of Tuesday's game against Milwaukee...
Mike Miller has coached in college and the G League, so he knows all about the mental approach of young players.
He has high praise for Knicks rookie RJ Barrett's mindset.
"It stands out. I think he's unique. That's one of his skills," Miller said of the 19-year-old Barrett. "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."
Miller said he noticed Barrett's unshakable mental approach early on.
"We saw that in Summer League. 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," Miller said of Barrett's Summer League, which started with some subpar outings. "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."
Like any young player in a big market, Barrett's performances get scrutinized possession by possession. So the idea that he doesn't get caught up in outside noise or past failures will probably help him in New York.
Barrrett has had a strong stretch of games recently, the latest coming in Sunday's win over the Heat. The No. 3 pick had 23 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. He hit 7 of 10 shot attempts and eight of 10 from the free-throw line.
"He was so balanced. He scored the ball in different ways," Miller said. "His command, his confidence level, just everything. He made the right plays consistently. They tried to trap him, he kept finding the open guy that led to the next pass. He was patient enough to know I beat the trap here, let him make the next pass. He made some really good basketball plays."
BULLOCK IS KNICKS' STOPPER
Reggie Bullock helps spread the floor on offense because teams need to guard him at the 3-point line. But Miller pointed out on Monday that Bullock is adding a lot for the Knicks on defense as well.
"Defensively, we're using him as a stopper-type guy. We're putting him on one of the top players and he likes the challenge…. He wants that role. He's made a big impact because he can impact the game in a lot of different ways."
Bullock was asked about his mentality on defense. Here's his answer: "You really, honestly want to know? My mindset is I got my family watching me on TV and I can't get embarrassed. That just drives me. I gotta come home to my little brothers and sisters talking junk. It's all really about my family and holding your own and don't back down from nobody no matter who you're matched up with."
So if you like what you see from Bullock on defense, you can thank his family. He said that his family members always point out if he gets beat on defense by top players. The conversations usually take place the day after the game.
Bullock said he watches a lot of the league's top defenders on film.
"Just kind of knowing tendencies and learning from (them)…. What they do with their hands, Jimmy Butler film, Pat Bev(erly), so all defenders in the league I'm stealing something for sure."
In general, Miller said his Knicks are trying to do the same thing that most other NBA teams are doing on defense:
"Trying to take away are the shots at the rim and those open 3s. You start with the corners and then you move. If we can make sure we're trying to minimize those and then make sure that those are contested and challenged then that's where we have to start."
"There's been a lot of time put into that area," Miller says. "A lot of our film work is focused in those areas."
Miller called a timeout 1:51 into the first quarter of the Knicks' win over the Heat on Sunday. New York trailed, 7-2, at the time. After the timeout, they scored eight straight points. Miller was asked on Monday about the impetus for the timeout and what he told the team.
"It was more the defensive stuff. It was, when we talked about our first quarter defense, there were a few things that we wanted to be sharp on and I didn't think that we were really sharp. We had a cutter that we didn't cover the cutter the way that we wanted to. We had another situation that we didn't cover. There were coverage type things, there were scheme type things that just didn't look quite sharp. It wouldn't have mattered if they scored or not, we wanted to start out playing a certain way."
IMPRESSED BY AGGRESSIVE NATURE OF KNOX
Miller sees Kevin Knox playing more aggressively of late. Knox's numbers have been up and down this season, but he played well on Sunday against Miami. The second-year wing had 17 points (6-of-8 shooting), five rebounds and two assists off the bench.
"I hope he looks at (the game film)," Miller said. "He's been doing a lot of work. He's been putting a lot of work in. Every experience he has helps him grow and develop and hopefully this leads him to continue on. But he has been really, maybe without the numbers to show it, has been more aggressive, has been more assertive, has been more versatile with his offense. So (Sunday) it was nice to see him get some of the numbers and the rewards to go with it."