2019 NBA Draft Profile: R.J. Barrett

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

R.J. BARRETT

Vitals: 6-7, 208 pounds, shooting guard/small forward
Birthdate: June 14, 2000
College: Duke (1 year)
Stats: 22.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 4.3 apg, 45.4% FG, 66.5% FT

NBA.com consensus mock draft: Third pick to New York

 

Stock watch: Holding at No. 3

Barrett entered the 2018-19 season as the projected No. 1 overall pick, but was “passed” during the six-month season by Zion Williamson and Ja Morant on the pecking order. There was at least person making a case that Barrett should remain at the top, but he may be slightly biased – Barrett’s high school coach, Kevin Boyle. “Zion deserved all the attention he got,” Boyle told the MSG Network. “But R.J. probably deserved more attention than he received. And he was never jealous. He was happy for his friend. Happy for the team. And I think that’s a rare quality in today’s kids.”

Strengths

One player comparison from NBADraft.net for Barrett is New Orleans native Danny Granger, a big wing and productive scorer who played 10 years and over 500 games in the league. ESPN.com on Barrett: “Has prototypical size, length and frame for an NBA wing at 6-foot-7 with a 6-10 wingspan at 208 pounds. Unique athlete in terms of coordination, fluidity, body control and quickness. Plays at different speeds.” Sam Vecenie of The Athletic: “In an era where teams are on a constant hunt for size, length and athleticism on the wing, Barrett brings everything professional teams could possibly want. He’s a strong lateral athlete and a relatively explosive vertical one when he gets time and space — although these factors can be diminished when crowded.”

Areas of improvement

The native of Mississauga, Ontario, wasn’t particularly efficient in his one Duke season, sometimes needing a high volume of attempts to put up big numbers, especially when Williamson was sidelined by injury. “Improved shooter, but still made only 31 percent of his 3s this season and 67 percent of his free throw attempts,” ESPN.com noted. “Doesn’t have the most natural shooting stroke – jumper looks rigid and flat at times, leading to bad misses. ... Shot-selection and decision-making were questionable at times as a freshman, especially in late-game situations. Lack of shooting around him at Duke made it easier for opposing defenses to accentuate his weaknesses.”

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