NBA Draft Profile: R.J. Barrett

Pranav Ramasubramanian | June 19th, 2019

The Toronto Raptors dethroned the Golden State Warriors in six games to take the NBA Championship, but there is still another NBA event that people can look forward to. The 2019 NBA Draft will be happening on Thursday and it will either revive a franchise back to its glory or give them more balls at next year’s lottery. The consequence of the one and done era is that top basketball prospects are leaving school after just one year, here’s a look at one of them.

Player: R.J. Barrett

Position: Shooting guard/Small Forward

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 202 pounds

College: Duke

2019 shooting percentages

Two-point shots         Free-throws            Three-point shots                                  Total

52.9%                                  66.5%                       30.8%                                                     45.4%

His game translates…

A couple of years ago bigs were still relevant and guards could manipulate themselves to the rim easily, but now it’s all about the shooting the ball from more than 20 feet. Barrett shoots 30.8% from three, which isn’t the worst percentage, but the efficiency isn’t as good as most of them are bad shots so Barrett needs to look to create smarter shots within the flow of the offense instead of forcing long shots because it’s not really his specialty.  Barrett has the ability to drive to the rim with his agility and long strides splitting double teams in the process with a Euro step, hop step along with side step to finish off layups using his left hand. The long strides also help Barrett run the transition to take or create an easy shot. Barrett runs curls well, but if he gets square with his defender that’s when he is able to do his best work on offense by changing direction fast manipulating his defender to the left before getting to the rim for an easy shot. He also uses his jab step for separation on jumpers so that he can get a good look for his team.

The defense in the NBA is played to attack your weaknesses from Game 1 to Game 82 so R.J. Barrett has to learn to use his right hand and come off screens on the right-hand side of the court better because if he doesn’t develop this skill then defenses will just force him to go right to eliminate him as a threat. His jumper is solid, but he has to make sure he keeps working on it in the gym so that in an NBA game he shoots with proper lift and stance because if his stance is uneven then the shot he attempts won’t go in. Barrett’s main issue with his jumper is sometimes he hesitates a split second before he shoots, which throws off his rhythm making him take an unnecessarily tougher shot. Free throws are one of the easiest parts of the game and Barrett does a good job by creating a lot of fouls forcing opposing players guarding him into foul trouble, but he is only 66.5% at the free throw line so if he doesn’t start making more free throws then he will just get hacked as NBA teams like to play the percentages. His frame is not just helpful for physicality on offense, but also on the boards as he can snag defensive rebounds away from big men so he just needs to stay active with his hands to have the same opportunities in the NBA.

If he gave more effort on defense and used his instincts better he could be a better defender because right now his effort is just dismal. He is a good help defender, but he also needs to stay on his man. Barrett’s best quality is his Mamba Mentality which is something that not many players have in this day and age, but a youth coach that coached Barrett says that Barrett has this quality and that he’s trying to kill you on the court by showing you that he is much better than you every time down the floor, which should just enhance his performance when needed.

Draft Meter: High

Mike Krzyzewski grooms young men into adults very fast because of his way of coaching them to be smarter people off the court so Barrett shouldn’t run into any off the court issues and will be focused on just playing basketball. Barrett was largely overshadowed by Zion Williamson at Duke, but Barrett still showed flashes of his capabilities. The New York Knicks have been extensively working out Darius Garland and will probably take him as the 3rd overall pick because he fits their team needs more than Barrett would.

If the Pelicans keep the fourth pick they already have a backcourt with Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday so they will pass on Barrett as well while Cleveland might opt for a small forward like Cameron Reddish so Barrett would fall to 6. Devin Booker needs a running mate and someone who is comfortable with the keys to the offense so Barrett would help fill that role. Barrett is great at finding teammates close to the rim so he should be able to set up DeAndre Ayton or Dragan Bender for easy baskets. Barrett has to stay disciplined because unlike Duke Phoenix has a lot of dysfunction and it’s not easy for a 19-year-old, who would rather be in New York to stay calm. If Barrett can help run the pick and rolls and integrate himself into the Phoenix Suns offense with ease while playing good defense then he could help the Suns find a way back to the NBA Playoffs while becoming an NBA superstar.

Prediction: R.J. Barrett gets drafted in the first round by the Phoenix Suns as the 6th overall pick.

Read our other Draft Profiles: Brandon Clarke|

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Pranav Ramasubramanian  Follow Pranav on Twitter @PranavRama1

Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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