We haven’t seen this but RJ Barrett’s AAU coach, Duane Washington, thinks some NBA types are calling his former star a ball hog.
On the one hand we always keep in mind that people try to manipulate perceptions to create more doubts about prospects. If you can get enough people worried about some aspect of a young player’s game, so much the better for you.
So on the one hand you can't take that too seriously. On the other...what the heck?
Barrett at times shot a lot at Duke and he suffers if compared to Williamson, because Williamson was freakishly efficient. It’s amazing how many games he took between 12-16 shots and made about 70% or so of them (a sign that Duke was struggling was Williamson taking more than about 16 shots).
But there are a couple of points to consider here.
First, look at Duke’s starters last season: Barrett, Williamson, Cam Reddish, Tre Jones and Javin DeLaurier.
Then look at the bench: Jack White, Alex O’ Connell and Jordan Goldwire were the main rotation guys and White had an epic slump.
If you’re Coach K, and you know, even if everyone else doesn’t, that Reddish is dealing with a core injury, who do you turn to?
You tell Barrett to shoot and keep shooting. And when other teams double team him, what do you see? You see a guy who is a creative passer.
And from the other coach’s point of view, can you slow Williamson much? No, not really. So how do you attack Duke?
You don't have to worry much about Jones or DeLaurier (or Marques Bolden either) offensively. Reddish for whatever reason isn’t shooting very well (his injury was not publicly known). So how do you slow Duke? You choose one and you go after Barrett.
And even when you do, he’s hard to stop and he finds his teammates when he can.
People talked a lot about how good Duke was this season but spent less time talking about limitations that team had. It had superb chemistry, thanks largely to Williamson and Barrett, who were extraordinary teammates and that helped them to overcome the team’s limitations.
That too doesn’t come from being a ball hog.
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