RJ Barrett scouting report: Duke’s freshman phenom has instruments to be No. 1 choose | NBA


The laments in regards to the high quality of the 2019 NBA Draft don’t prolong to the highest of it. The very best prospects within the class may possible go head-to-head with nearly every other 12 months. Main the way in which is Duke freshman RJ Barrett.

Barrett, the consensus prime prep prospect within the 2018 highschool class, is without doubt one of the most profitable youth gamers in latest reminiscence. In 2017, he was named MVP of Basketball With out Borders and led Canada to its first gold medal on the FIBA U19 World Cup, a run that included a formidable 38 factors, 13 rebounds and 5 assists in a semifinal win over america.

As a senior, he was named Nationwide Participant of the 12 months and led Montverde Academy to a nationwide championship. Then he scooped up the MVP award on the 2018 Nike Hoop Summit to shut out his highschool profession. Barrett’s been actually good for some time.

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The 18-year-old wing matches the mould of what NBA groups are in search of on the perimeter. He measures in at 6-7 with a 6-9 wingspan and an 8-6 standing attain. Barrett already has a comparatively mature physique at 202 kilos, though he’ll want so as to add a little bit of a energy if he needs his bully-ball ways to work on the subsequent stage. He’s additionally a plus athlete who can play in area vertically and makes use of lengthy strides with the ball in his palms to create area.

Barrett’s upside lies in his skill to be a major creator on the perimeter. Early movie suggests the Blue Devils intend to make use of him this fashion not less than in some lineups, significantly when level guard Tre Jones is off the ground.

On the NBA stage, a participant wants a far-reaching set of abilities to deal with that kind of offensive load, together with the flexibility to constantly get to and rating on the rim, knock down jumpers off the dribble and deal with facilitating duties. Clearly the weights for every of those can shift, however they symbolize the package deal draft analysts should be interested by as a place to begin.

Barrett’s most refined talent at this stage is his skill to assault and rating across the basket. He excels as a straight line risk due to prolonged strides that enable him to eat up area, however he may also change instructions with a pair go-to strikes. As soon as on the rim, he’s a inventive finisher who can re-adjust midair to keep away from defenders.

Barrett’s commonest change of course motion is a Eurostep. He continuously makes use of it in transition to shake defenders. Right here, his lengthy strides are most helpful as they permit him to filter out the room to keep away from an preliminary defender:

Along with the Euro step, he’ll additionally use a spin transfer to shed defenders. It’s not as fast as his Canadian counterpart Andrew Wiggins, however it’s efficient sufficient.

If there isn’t area to maneuver into with a Eurostep or spin, Barrett will merely attempt to undergo his opponent. The 18-year-old is adept at utilizing his shoulder to create enough area and possesses high quality contact on a left-handed floater to complete simply away from the rim:

The above clips spotlight a little bit of Barrett’s restricted athleticism in site visitors. He’s not but — and will by no means be — the kind of participant who will rise as much as the rim with a defender on him like his faculty teammate Zion Williamson. Nonetheless, with only a slight little bit of area, Barrett isn’t missing within the vertical division:

Assuming he continues so as to add energy and make sensible choices about when to assault, there’s not a lot doubt Barrett will have the ability to proceed to attain across the basket as an expert. When it comes to his skill to get buckets, the bigger fear lies together with his soar shot.

In highschool, Barrett’s jumper was, at finest, inconsistent — his decrease physique mechanics may be erratic — and he’s definitely a extra viable off-ball shooter than pull-up risk at this level. As such, he’s prone to face pick-and-roll coverages that decision for his defender to go beneath the display screen and for the massive to comprise penetration.

With a purpose to be the simplest major creator he can, Barrett might want to punish these defenses like he did right here towards Oregon’s Payton Pritchard and Auburn’s Austin Wiley in the course of the FIBA semifinal:

The Duke freshman nonetheless requires load-up time to get his shot off in these spots and isn’t comfy pulling up instantly after coming off the display screen, particularly when dribbling to his proper. Take into account this instance — one other make — from the Blue Devils’ offseason journey to Canada. Barrett takes an additional dribble, permitting the defender to flippantly contest his jumper:

Constantly and rapidly pulling down pull-up 3-pointers is essentially the most easy means for Barrett to develop right into a extra well-rounded scoring risk. In fact, it’s additionally in all probability essentially the most troublesome talent so as to add. NBA groups may have an eye fixed on how typically he’s in a position to join on a lot of these makes an attempt in Durham.

The ultimate field to verify right here is Barrett’s passing skill, a talent that’s in all probability underrated relative to the remainder of his recreation. He can throw one-handed passes to both nook in addition to discover open teammates across the basket when defenses collapse on his drives. He’s additionally a wonderful lob thrower:

Barrett shines when discovering passing lanes towards non-under pick-and-roll coverages, too. Right here, his defender goes over the display screen and the massive steps as much as reduce off the drive, leaving Javin DeLaurier an open path to the basket. Barrett’s in a position to make use of his top to see the ground and precisely join with the roll man:

The upside worth in Barrett as a possible No. 1 choose hinges largely on his skill to develop right into a major creator. Nonetheless, a part of his worth usually pertains to his excessive flooring offensively.

Barrett ought to virtually all the time be not less than a secondary creation possibility on the subsequent stage, as his catch-and-shoot jumper has improved, and he’s a wise off-ball cutter to go together with the above:

As a defender, Barrett nonetheless must subjected to some scrutiny. He has the bodily instruments to be strong on the wing and is often engaged on that finish of the ground.

He does often discover himself unsure about how you can deal with weak aspect rotations, however hopefully that can include time. If it does, he has the athleticism and verticality instincts to be disruptive across the basket:

NBA groups will nonetheless be trying to see extra of how Barrett defends throughout his time at Duke.

Finally, although, Barrett sits atop our preliminary draft rankings due to the polish he brings on the offensive finish and the shortage of actual holes in his total recreation. The 18-year-old could not have the identical ceiling as a few of the different gamers within the class because of lesser athleticism and measurement, however he possesses each a greater median consequence than the others and possibly the next likelihood of hitting above his median consequence than them.

Usually, which means Barrett’s anticipated worth as skilled proper now could be higher than the likes of Williamson, Nassir Little and Cameron Reddish. That’s why he’ll begin the season because the No. 1 prospect within the 2019 NBA Draft.

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