2020 NBA Draft Profile: RJ Hampton

RJ HamptonGuard, New Zealand Breakers (ABL)

Age: 19Height: 6-5Weight: 185

**DISCLAIMER: The following is an aggregate of player analysis from various media outlets and does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Timberwolves.**

Regarded as one of the most promising high school players in the United States, RJ made the surprise move of first reclassifying to the 2019 recruiting class, then forgoing college altogether to play professionally in the Australia-based National Basketball League (NBL) Hampton possesses an elite combination of speed, explosiveness, and length. His most noteworthy skill is his ability to attack the rim downhill in transition and isolation situations. He is smooth with the ball and is emerging as a playmaker who can create solid opportunities for teammates out of the pick and roll. Despite nice looking shooting mechanics, he struggles both with his accuracy and willingness to shoot the three-ball. This reluctance has led defenses in the NBL to often go under screens to dare him to shoot.

Defensively he has a combination of athleticism and instincts that create the potential of a high-level defensive player. Presently, he lacks upper body strength to hold his position defensively as well as the ability to finish and draw fouls. After playing 15 games in the NBL with modest success Hampton returned to the US in February to prepare for the NBA draft.  

ESPN/Draft Express (click to read full analysis):

  • Quick, explosive athlete with nice size for a combo guard. Has grown three inches over the past few years and is far from a finished product physically. Plays above the rim with ease in space. Explosive first step with the ability to shift gears on a dime. Uses Eurosteps well in the open floor.
  • Versatile offensive game. Can play on or off the ball in a pinch. At his best putting pressure on the rim with his speed in transition and the half court. Streaky, yet developing shooter who can make a spot 3 or a midrange pull-up with nice elevation. Holds quite a bit of playmaking potential. Sound feel for the game. At his best in drive-and-kick situations.
  • Fundamentals need work but has the tools to defend either backcourt spot in time. Quick feet when fully engaged. Positional length allows him to contest shots on the perimeter. Covers ground quickly on closeouts.

Projected role: Creating combo guard

--Mike Schmitz

  • He can hit turbo on drives to the rim, and has explosiveness when elevating for layups. He stays low on crossovers, and displays advanced moves with herky-jerky hesitations.
  • Displays the fundamentals, craft, and body control to become a good interior finisher.
  • Playmaking potential. Loves one-handed whip passes off the dribble, and throws them with precision. Doesn’t make advanced reads but flashes the ability to develop in pick-and-roll.
  • Good off-ball player: He’s an aware cutter, relocates well around the perimeter, and runs like Forrest Gump in transition. Gotta love the hustle.
  • Long-term defensive upside because of his athleticism.

--Kevin O’Connor

Good size and length for position with a 6’7 wingspan and 8’4 standing reach … Very good ball handler. Creates and breaks down the defense off the dribble; effectively uses his crossover, changing direction/speed, and knows how to shift his defender. Can fit in tight spaces and gets where he wants with the ball. Good pick and roll ball handler. Doesn’t rely on triple threat, can get to the rim off the dribble in the half court. Fearless driver and very good at drawing fouls. Shot third best 6.6 free throws per game over the Under Armour Association in 2018. Shot 12.3 free throws per game over his four games of the Nike EYBL in 2019, which was the highest of the session … Good court vision and passing ability. Very good in drive and kick situations when attacking the baseline. Makes accurate cross-court passes. Averaged a second most six assists per game over the Under Armour Association in 2018. Averaged 4.5 assists per game in his four games over the Nike EYBL in 2019 … Good scoring ability. Led the Under Armour Association in scoring with 24.6 points per game in 2018. Averaged 28.8 points per game in his four games of the Nike EYBL in 2019, which was the second best of the session … Very good athlete. Finishes plays above the rim with good body control and attacks with aggression. Quick off the ground and first step. Handles the ball well at a high speed, gets going downhill and blows by the defense. Can lead and finish in transition … Good defensive tools with his length and quickness. Will lock in and pick the ball handler on occasions. Anticipates and covers a lot of ground jumping passing lanes. Averaged 1.8 steals per game at the U16 Americas Championship in 2017. Averaged 1.5 steals per game at the U17 World Cup in 2018. Averaged 1.8 steals per game over the Under Armour Association in 2018. Averaged two steals per game over his four games of the Nike EYBL in 2019 … Blocks shots well for a guard … -- Evan Tomes