The hype is all around Duke and Zion Williamson, It makes no sense because he is not even the best player on his team.
6’7 Small Forward for the Duke Blue Devils
The most NBA ready player in the projected 2019 NBA draft
23.3 ppg – 7.4 rpg – 4.1 apg – 46% fg – 32% 3p
A Canadian native who was ranked the #1 high school prospect out of Monteverde Academy who happened to join the Duke superteam who is the equivalent of what the Warriors should have been this season.
If I had to pick a player to compare RJ Barrett to it would have to be Carmelo Anthony because of their polished offensive games. A beautiful and deadly jumper that will drop 30 on you if you are not careful enough. With his ability to use his body and finish in traffic he is a Swiss army knife on offense. An electrifying and explosive player who can finish at the rim through contact. He even has a great mid-range and floater game, so he is able to score from anywhere on the floor and is a triple threat. The only knock on his offensive game is his inability to finish with his right hand but it is something that can be worked on. In his Duke debut, he scored 34 points, his first official College Basketball game…..this dude is ridiculous.
While a bit weaker on the defensive end of the ball Barrett has a lot of potential due to his length. He is a very underrated rebounder and he often grabs the board to run the break.
I don’t consider him a great passer but he is good at it. His IQ helps him make the right pass and quick decisions. An absolute acrobatic athlete inside as he can manipulate his shot to get the friendly roll. Being able to create his own shot and make some of the most difficult ones it proves hard to gameplan against. Defenses at times seem to do everything and yet he still finds a way to score.
He is already one of the projected top 5 in the draft but should go #1. In an era where shooting and pace use key we see scorers thrive in the league. That is exactly what the maple mamba is. A dominating scorer with an Offensive arsenal that has yet been trained by NBA level trainers. I expect his game to translate and 18 ppg is reasonable to expect from the young goat. With some NBA coaching his defense will improve.
One thing I can say is his arsenal needs to get better in terms of efficiency. He is a KD like guy with 30 points and you didn’t even realize it. His post-game can improve. At 6’7 he should get comfortable being able to work the ball in the post and create scoring opportunities. In this era, he can easily play shooting guard and bully shorter players. While he does look tall and lengthy he could use some muscle. He is at about 200 pounds so a push to gain 10-15 pounds of muscle can only benefit his game. The last and final thing he really needs to work on is some of his shot selections at times. If he can become a more efficient scorer and take more high percentage shots, then there is no telling what the future holds for the Maple Mamba. I expect to see him with Chris Brickley this summer and I pray to the basketball gods my Miami Heat can somehow trade and draft him.
The young Canadian has a lot of tools to work with and a game that can translate into the league. Whether his true potential that I see will come into fruition or not solely depends on his work ethic. The franchise that drafts him will already know the work that needs to be done. There would be no surprise if his first season he doesn’t do fantastic but there isn’t any if he dominates like Luka And Trae either.