MILWAUKEE – Durability is not an advanced metric team that executives attack. But it should probably be.
If there is an area where novice RJ Barrett has not been advertised enough in an era of load management, it is the novice's ability to stay healthy and fight every night. He had his ups and downs as the third choice in the NBA draft, but he never stops getting tough.
When the Bucks rematch season at the Fiserv Forum reached the 41st half of the game on Tuesday, Barrett missed only one game due to an upper respiratory infection.
He will play his 40th game on Tuesday and has shown no signs of slowing down. Barrett was key to the fourth quarter of Sunday's comeback win over Miami.
"It was quick," said Barrett at Tuesday's shoot-around on Tuesday. "I've always been a guy who played all season. I was lucky not to get hurt and be there every night. I'm proud of that. I think my body is used to going through the season. I feel mentally prepared for it. I'm fine now. "
Barrett's health is all the more remarkable since former Duke team-mate Zion Williamson has not yet made his regular season debut. Last season, Williamson suffered a knee injury at Duke and Barrett carried the charge for a spell.
Knicks trainer Mike Miller sees Barrett come instead of falling down and getting a second wind. His defense was excellent – his engine on Overdrive. Barrett only shoots 39.5 percent, but he makes up for this with rare intangible assets for a 19-year-old.
"I see it grow," said Miller. "Everything he does tends upwards. His energy, defense, everything is on the uptrend. I don't see (a beginner's wall) at all. He is unique in his approach, his endurance and his preparation for every game. He is with his Approach very mature. "
Sometimes it's half the battle of the NBA to always be healthy and present, even when it's in a rocky sea. With an average of 14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds, Barrett had the worst performance of his rookie year in the preliminary round against Milwaukee in early December when the Knicks were undercut by 44 points.
In this game, Barrett was 0 for 9 from the field and finished the game with two points and one assist in just under 20 minutes. After the competition, Barrett said his first street after another might have caught up with him.
"I've learned that every game is different," said Barrett. "You could play a team and have a terrible game, and the next time you play, you'll have the best game in your career. Every game is different and offers a new chance every day. "
His free-throw percentage has risen to 59.8 percent from just 54 percent in the past month. In the last six games, Barrett has made 30 of 39 free throws healthier.
"I've just worked more on it," said Barrett. "I was always confident. As I learn the league and feel more comfortable from game to game, it sinks. I was always confident that I could."
More for vain reasons, Barrett put on a thick headband when winning in Miami. It was the first time since he was 14 that he wore a headband because he needed a haircut.
Barrett should wear the NBA logo headband against the goats again because his haircut is only done on Wednesday.
"If it's not broken, don't fix it," said Barrett.
PG Frank Ntilikina had to miss his second game in a row with a groin strain. A groin strain cost him a lot from the second half of last season. Marcus Morris also missed his fifth consecutive game with a neck injury and did not travel.
Ntilikina and Morris, arguably the top two defenders of the Knicks, missed this fateful loss in Milwaukee. "Thanks for bringing that up," Miller said. Miller wasn't the head coach at the time, and the router cost David Fizdale his job.
For more information on the Knicks, see the latest episode of the Big Apple Buckets podcast: