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2019 NBA Draft Profile: R.J. Barrett

R.J Barrett
Position: SG


Height: 6’7″
Weight: 207 lbs.

NBA Combine:

*Did not participate*

College Stats:


Natural Scoring Ability/Shot Creation: R.J Barrett came into Duke as the unanimous #1 overall recruit this past season and it didn’t take long for everyone to see why as he poured in 33 points in his first career college game (vs. Kentucky). Barrett went on to average 22.6 PPG for the season on a roster consistent of Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, which is a pretty impressive feat. Keep in mind that this is an 18-year-old kid coming into the toughest conference in college basketball.

When I watched R.J, the ability to score just came so easily to him. He has that natural scoring ability and can get to the rim when needed, while also possessing a good mid-range jump shot. Out of the 38 games Barrett played on the season, he scored 20+ in 26 of them.

Court Vision/Passing: People have labeled R.J Barrett as a ball hog because he’s taken shots in the clutch rather than passed the ball to Zion Williamson or because he averaged 18.5 field goal attempts per game. Let me just say… THIS IS NOT THE CASE. One of R.J’s greatest strengths is his court vision and passing. He averaged 4.3 assists per game on the season, and over 5 assists per game over his last 14 games. There’s no doubt in my mind that Barrett sees the floor well and because of that, I can see him playing a little bit of point guard in the NBA a little further down the road.

Craftiness/Creativity: Whether it’s creating his own shot or making a great pass, R.J Barrett’s game has no shortage of craftiness and creativity. He’s a playmaker.

A clip like this is the norm for R.J Barrett. It’s a transition play with a defender in front of him in a one-on-one situation. It looks like the defender tries to draw a charge, but R.J doesn’t panic. He euro steps right around him for the easy bucket. The awareness and body control of Barrett on plays like these are what gets me so excited about him as a prospect.

The craftiness and creativity of his game also extends to his passing as well. Below is one of my favorite plays of the college basketball season.

The awareness and calmness of Barrett to make this play down three with 1:32 left is very impressive for an 18 year old.

Size/Length: R.J Barrett is 6’7″ with a 6’10” wingspan. This size and length allows him to easily shoot over defenders/create his own shot. In addition, Barrett averaged 7.6 rebounds per game, another way that size and length is displayed on the court. Scouts also always love to size and length from a defensive perspective in the hopes that the player will grow into a good defender. In terms of Barrett, he’s not there defensively yet (which I’ll discuss later in the profile), but he could be molded to be later on.


Shot Selection/Decision Making: There’s no doubt in my mind the R.J Barrett’s greatest weakness as a prospect is his shot selection/decision making. Barrett’s habit of forcing shots up at times led him to some extremely inefficient games, which is certainly a concern. Out of the 38 games he played, he shot below 50% from the field in 24 of them. Ten of those 24 games he shot below 40% from the field.

I’m not exactly sure what he’s doing in this play against Louisville here, and unfortunately this seemed to be the case more often than I’d like to see, a main reason for these low shooting percentages.

There were plenty of times throughout the season where R.J Barrett missed open threes, and after a while it got to the point where I was confidently able to say he’s not a good long-range shooter, especially considering the three-point line is moved back once he hits the NBA. Barrett shot 6.2 threes per game, and only made 1.9 of them for a whopping 30.8% on the season. When you consider shot selection and decision making, I would have much rather him try to drive to the basket and use that size/length to score than shoot a million threes of which he clearly just couldn’t hit most of the time.

When it comes to decision making, R.J Barrett averaged 3.2 turnovers per game, second in the ACC and 17th in the nation. There’s no doubt that his 32.2% usage rate play a role in that high number, but it’s also clear that some of his indecisiveness led to an increased turnover rate.

Average Defender: R.J Barrett wasn’t necessarily a liability on defense, but he also wasn’t always an asset. I never saw a ton of effort from Barrett defensively, whether it was lackadaisical off-ball defense or slow closeouts. He also averaged only 0.9 steals per game and 0.4 blocks per game, far below what someone of his size and length should produce.

NBA Player Comparison: DeMar DeRozan

There have been so many people to compare R.J Barrett to Andrew Wiggins, and that’s nothing short of an absolutely horrendous player comparison. Wiggins’ career high in assists for a single game is 9 and that happened in his rookie year. R.J Barrett had three games of 9+ assists this past season in college.

The closest player that I see too R.J Barrett is DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan’s a 20 PPG scorer in this league, and a guy who can create his own shot with his size. Not only does he contribute on the scoring end of things, but he also averaged over six rebounds and six assists this season. DeRozan mostly thrives going to the basket or shooting the mid-range jumper and he isn’t a great three-point shooter by any stretch. This is very similar to who I see R.J Barrett being in the league if he does pan out.

Projected Draft Position: #3

I think it’s a long shot at this point that R.J Barrett doesn’t get drafted to the New York Knicks at pick three. The only way I see R.J at any other destination is if the pick is traded.

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