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Duke in the NBA: Tatum still looking for a big night, Barrett sits with illness

<p>Tatum's scoring lagged behind expectations over the last week.&nbsp;</p>

Tatum's scoring lagged behind expectations over the last week. 

Former Blue Devils are still working out the kinks as the NBA calendar rolls over from November to December. We have a look into some of the Blue Devils making headlines as pros:

Tatum's scoring struggles persist

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum’s slow start to the season has not found its end yet. Like many stars this season, Tatum has found himself in a serious shooting slump. Luckily for the Celtics, it has not translated into too many losses, as they still sit at a healthy 12-10. Over the past week, the Celtics went 2-1, including an impressive one-point win over the Philadelphia 76ers. 

For Tatum, however, scoring has still not reached the levels he set for himself in the previous season. In fact, Tatum scored just eight points against the Raptors in Sunday night’s win. It’s not as though he did not have the opportunities, though. He played 38 minutes, tossed out 10 assists, as well as grabbed seven rebounds, but shot just 12.5% from the field. For a player on a max contract, that level of production has not been received well by fans. Hopefully, the former Blue Devil is able to find his way out of this slump and return to his all-star form.

Barrett, Knicks show signs of hope amid sluggish stretch

Another former Blue Devil that has seen his production fall off from last season, RJ Barrett, and the New York Knicks, have not been close to the top-level team they previously were. Barrett has been pretty inefficient thus far, shooting just under 40% on the season. For a top-three pick, this kind of production coming into his third season has to be disappointing for a front office than invested as much as they did into his future. 

However, for as inefficient as he’s been, he continues to show flashes of his bright future. In Saturday’s win against the Atlanta Hawks, Barrett scored 15 points on 54.5% from the field and grabbed seven rebounds in just 31 minutes of play. Barrett is listed as day-to-day due to illness at the moment, likely to miss Saturday’s game against the Denver Nuggets. Upon his return, look for him to be more careful with his shot selection in order to improve his numbers. Barrett has all the talent in the world, and it is likely the Blue Devil will find his form sometime soon. 

Ingram keeps Pelicans afloat while Williamson sits

Brandon Ingram was on a roll this week. On a roster missing one of its biggest stars in Zion Williamson, Ingram has had to do a lot of the heavy lifting by himself. His numbers have been quite impressive. In his last two outings, Ingram put up a total of 56 points, shooting a combined 23 of 35 from the field, over 65%. Ingram also dished out his fair share of assists and grabbed a few boards along the way. 

The Pelicans have not been great, however. On the season, they are just 6-18. They should not be written off just yet, however. With Ingram’s help, they have won three of their last five, and no longer possess the league’s worst record. As New Orleans patiently awaits the return of Zion, look for Ingram to continue providing a bulk of the production. As he finds his form, so will they. 

Grayson's shooting earning playing time

The Milwaukee Bucks are back. After a pretty disappointing, injury-riddled start to the season, the reigning NBA Champions have returned to the top half of the Eastern Conference. A fantastic eight-game win streak came to an end this week after a four-point loss to the Raptors, but former Blue Devil Grayson Allen has been fantastic. His impressive performances have made him look like the steal of the offseason. In Jrue Holiday’s absence, Allen was able to fill some important roles for the team, and upon Holiday’s return, Allen still maintained his position in the starting lineup.

His shooting from the field has been lights-out thus far. He is currently top five in the league in 3-pointers made this season, with a total of 72. He is doing this while shooting an impressive 42.6% from long-range, a tick up from his career percentage of 39.2%. Not to mention the fact that his total field goal percentage and free throw percentage are also both career highs. The fourth-year man has provided incredible value for the Bucks, and if his production remains high, the former Duke star could be working himself toward a lot more recognition for a franchise that is looking to contend for another title. 

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