Knicks rookie shooting guard RJ Barrett put on a show last Friday in the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, and he drew a rave review Wednesday from New York's interim head coach Mike Miller.
The 2019 NBA Draft's No. 3 overall pick led all scorers with 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting, adding six rebounds, five assists and three steals over 24 minutes, but Team World fell, 151-131, to Team USA at the United Center in Chicago.
Still, Barrett's individual effort impressed Miller, who believes the Duke product has a chance to parlay the performance into a strong second half as the 2019-20 season resumes with Friday's 7:30 p.m. game against the Indiana Pacers (32-23) at Madison Square Garden.
"I thought it was great, great for him," Miller said. "It's a great experience for young guys, to get to do that. I think, if you could maybe look at previous players, how they used that game and that platform to continue to grow -- I think he did an outstanding job of how he played and how he represented himself for the progression of his career."
Barrett viewed the opportunity in a similar light.
"I guess it's an All-Star game, but I really only know how to play one way," Barrett said. "But it was a lot of fun. I didn't press too much. I just went out there and had fun. I took some opportunities when I could and tried to make some nice passes, too."
"I think he did an outstanding job"- Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) February 19, 2020
Mike Miller was impressed by RJ Barrett at the Rising Stars Game pic.twitter.com/y18enaotNL
Through 45 games, Barrett has averaged 13.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists on 38.8-percent shooting (31.8 percent on three-pointers) in 30.5 minutes.
As the Knicks and Barrett get back on the floor following the All-Star break, Miller has a clear objective as he leads his younger players into a constructive next 27 games.
"If we help these guys and we continue to grow and get better, then we've done our job -- and all I'm concerned about is bringing value to it and helping these guys, as simple as that sounds," Miller said. "I did that for six years as a D-League, G League coach and I felt good at the end of every season. And that's the direction I take."