Duke basketball product setting wrong type of NBA records

Duke basketball (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports) /

RJ Barrett’s main flaw nowadays is the same as in his Duke basketball days.

At some point, stats don’t lie. At this point, a statistician would claim we’ve long since reached that point when it comes to the inaccurate 3-point shooting of former Duke basketball one-and-done and second-year New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett.

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See, the No. 3 overall selection at the 2019 NBA Draft is in the midst of an 0-for-21 stretch from downtown for the 2-3 Knicks. Ever since a 3-for-3 clip in the season opener, Barrett has failed to knock down a trifecta across nine halves.

During a Thursday loss against the Toronto Raptors, Barrett took part in an NBA record of 23 consecutive 3-point misses by a starting five. New York was an abysmal 3-for-36 from beyond the arc, including 1-for-4 by former Blue Devil Austin Rivers.

Barrett and Reggie Bullock became the first NBA teammates to ever each finish a game 0-for-8 or worse from deep.

Persistent denial could prove costly for the Duke basketball alum

Now, when honest eyes examine RJ Barrett’s 3-point numbers both as a professional and as a collegian, it’s quite clear that this current drought should be viewed as less of a slump and more of another telltale warning sign.

As a Blue Devil, Barrett finished a lousy 73-for-237 (30.8 percent) from long distance. As a Knick, the 6-foot-6 lefty out of Canada is currently a slightly lousier 66-for-221 (29.9 percent); this season alone, he is 3-for-24 (12.5 percent). That’s 139-for-458 (30.3 percent) since the No. 1 prep prospect on the 247Sports 2018 Composite graduated high school.

Altogether, those stats don’t lie.

Apparently, though, the increasingly frequent 3-point shooter himself — averaging 4.8 such attempts this season after 3.5 as a rookie — remains stubbornly convinced he’s a bonafide sniper. According to Stefan Bondy of New York Daily News, here’s what Barrett is saying about his stroke as the Knicks prepare for a road meeting with the Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. Saturday:

“I’m going to keep shooting. I’m getting open shots. I just have to knock them down.”

Surely, someone in the Knicks organization will help the 20-year-old recognize that the reason for the wealth of open looks is a lack of respect from defenses — because, you know, stats don’t lie.

If not, then despite a wealth of potential as a strong rebounder and driver who is averaging 15.4 points and 7.4 boards this season, Barrett could be headed for a relatively disappointing payday when he becomes a restricted free agent following next season.

Look, no NBA player has ever chucked more than 2,500 attempts from 3-point range while hitting less than 30 percent for a career. Right now, though early, Barrett is on pace to become the first.

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