Amit Mann and Jevohn Shepherd discuss how Scottie Barnes continued to play through criticism this year and has found his role in the process. Listen to the full episode on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed or watch on our YouTube.
AMIT MANN: He's being used more as a-- in the pick-and-roll He's being used more as a roller. He's touching the ball more. What are you seeing from him over the past few weeks, and why is it so awesome to see?
JEVOHN SHEPHERD: What I like is that, let's say this. About a month ago, people were taking jabs at Scottie. Not even a month-- let's just say, two weeks ago. Not even two weeks-- two or three weeks. Everybody's taking jabs at Scottie. This is supposed to be the Rookie of the Year and really, really hard on him-- really critical on him.
And I think he just woke up and he took every hit. He took it. He ate every punch and every swing that everybody took at him. And he just woke up and said, enough's enough. So that to me is inspiring to see, and I appreciate it because that tells me a lot about his character. That tells me a lot about his heart. Right?
That he responded, and then just full, didn't deflate. And he responded big, right? It wasn't-- some guys, especially young guys, it takes them a longer time to really build that thick skin. Everybody looks at it just basketball. They're still humans. They see, especially as young as they are, they're on social media daily. They see SportsCenter. They hear everything. And they have to endure that and still find ways to produce, still find ways to perform at a high level.
And he did that. So forget the X's and O's part. That's the part to me-- and maybe because I have a soft side for that because I've been in similar shoes, obviously, on a smaller scale. But you've got to find ways to get out of your own head and figure it out. And he's done that. And now everybody's talking about him as a second coming again.
So it's like this emotional roller coaster. And at 21 years old, the world is thrown at you, and all this pressure's on you. And there's so much to deal with. But from a basketball standpoint, I'm going to throw something out at you. And I'm not the biggest guy that's heavy on analytics.
But the coach has done a good job of just really putting him in the position now after experimenting with different looks and having him handle the ball a bit more. Really got him to the free throw line now and around the free throw line, high post area, where he can use his core vision-- can use his athleticism in shorter spaces-- less real estate to work.
And those teams really can't just play under. Because now you have-- and a lot of those [INAUDIBLE] sets were Fred is setting a screen on him or a smaller guard. And he gets to take that one, two steps and just dip his shoulder into the defense and attack. Really good in those areas. Or just using him as a role man.
And in pick-and-roll situations, Scottie Barnes-- and here's a number that's actually pretty crazy. In pick-and-roll situations as a role man, Scottie Barnes finishes at a 70%-- north of 70% [? clear ?] from the floor. That's actually pretty absurd.
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
JEVOHN SHEPHERD: And so we talk about his shooting numbers, we talk about his field goal numbers. But in pick-and-roll situations where he can really utilize his God-given ability, he puts the ball in the hole at a very high clip and makes the right decision. So now when you really-- you've got to see him for a larger sample size and gone away with some of the experiments. And now you're actually getting Fred back to positions where he's comfortable as well.
AMIT MANN: Sure.
JEVOHN SHEPHERD: You're getting some really good stuff between both of those guys. But Scottie has been impressive because it's just the way he does it. He doesn't back down. He's not afraid to mix it up. He's not afraid to get dirty. And I think we're also learning about him too. The conversation before about, Scottie needs to be a point guard. No, Scottie is a power forward. Scottie is a point forward, right? And that's fine as well.
You can be great in your natural position and really impact a game, really have an influence. You don't necessarily-- I know we're into the era of position list basketball, and everybody wants to play up a position. Or it's cute and sexy to play up positions. And no, well, if you are what you are, be the best at that. And that's fine as well. That's great.