Brian Macon, Scottie Barnes' basketball trainer, joined Amit Mann to detail at how he helped the reigning Rookie of the Year improve his ball-handling skills during the offseason. The full episode on Barnes' offseason development can be found on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed and on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube.
AMIT MANN: How do you develop ball handling skills for someone of his skill set? Because I think some larger guys-- I think with Pascal Siakam, for instance, like, he was worked on getting lower to the ground, for instance, right, because he is so high above. And to avoid turnovers and things like that, he's just had to make some adjustments. So how do you do something like that with a body composition of a Scottie Barnes?
BRIAN MACON: I think, like, Scottie didn't really have a-- Scottie-- Scottie issue with the ball handling really isn't, like, handling the ball or footwork. It's just being able to read, like, make different reads. You know, like, just if someone is guarding me this way and I do this combination, like, when should I go, like, and different things like that.
So I don't think his was, like, actually handling the ball. It's just getting more-- his isn't more, like, skill development. It's more just, like, player development, where you're just--
AMIT MANN: I see.
BRIAN MACON: But Scottie, if you go between crossing, he switches his foot-- like, feet like this. Like, you can attack this gap, or you can attack that gap.
So I mean, it wasn't hard because, you know, I've-- like, we've been working together for a long time. So it was just our natural progression on where we're going with it. So, like, a lot of it's just a conversation, like, also getting it to feel really well. So I don't know. That's a tough question for me to answer.
AMIT MANN: No, I got you. I hear what you're saying because, like, he's already able to dribble the length of the court in transition. He's able to make some crossovers. And then he's able to dunk on your head. So he already is very skilled as a ball handler.
Is it, like, film work? Do you do you show him cases where maybe, you know, you could have made this read, you could have made that read? Then he's like, oh, OK. Because he is such a in-tune basketball mind, he's able to figure things out?
BRIAN MACON: Yeah. I mean, it's a lot of, like, on-court, like, talking through the move, like talking through, like-- you know, like, we're not just doing this move just because you can dribble the ball. We're just, like, trying to set him up. We're playing chess a little bit. You know, I'm just like, teaching him how to play chess with his defender and, like, break down his defender.
And it's harder with him because he sees so many different types of defenders, you know. Like, he sees, like-- he sees centers. He sees little guards. So that's why his development is-- on the offensive end, it has to be, like, patient. And we have to continue to develop him slowly because he-- it's so many areas that we have to work on.
Like, we don't have to just work on the ball screen. Sometimes he's setting the screen. Sometimes he's doing the handoff. Sometimes he's getting the handoff. Sometimes he's spacing the floor. Sometimes he's-- you know?
So he has the ball in so many different spaces that we really have to kind of identify, like, what are you going to do on this defender? Like, if they switch, what are you looking for? How are they going to guard you and things like that. So--
AMIT MANN: Gotcha. I've always found Jimmy Butler is a person who dribbles with purpose. You know what I mean? Like, he's always luring you into his next move and baiting you in so he can, like, do whatever Jimmy Butler does. Like, he's one of my favorite players in the NBA right now.
Everything's done with purpose. And it's always very fast. There's no waste or dribbles with him.
BRIAN MACON: Right. I agree.