Team: R.J. Barrett
Height/Weight: 6’7, 203 lbs.
The Ontario native has one of the quickest first steps in the country and with his athleticism he is undoubtedly in the conversation for the number one pick this June. A similar body to DeMar Derozan, Barrett has the explosiveness the defensive intangibles to become one of the best two-way guards in the NBA. A lefty with one of the best releases in the country, Barrett has impressive foot-work with his great size and NBA ready body.
First, we need to discuss his finishing ability, which is top class. How he is able to maneuver through the lane and get himself in good position to finish is quite remarkable given someone of his age. He’s got a great jump stop, not nearly of the quality of Zion Williamson, but still incredibly impressive. He contorts his body in such a way when he’s driving to the basket that makes it extremely difficult for the shot blocker to get a hand on it.
Barrett can become a professional scorer at the next level with his shooting touch. Off the dribble or set, Barrett is an amazing shooter, that has constantly improved his jumper in the last two years. Previously known as a streaky shooter at times, Barrett has become a bona fide go-to shooter.
He’s an amazing guard with the ball in his hand, at times practically unguardable. His size gives him the ability to score fluently at every level of the court, but what separates him is his impressive movement without the ball. He must be accounted for on the court at all times. He continues to prove that he can make a positive impact for the team without scoring the ball given his passing ability. He is a skilled in the picks and roll as he has an incredible eye when distributing the ball. His ability to attack but keep his head up is what elevates him from average distributor to elite passer.
An unusual struggle for Barrett comes at the free throw line. Given how skilled he is at getting to the rim and drawing fouls, he has to be able to knock down free throws. While he’s an amazing distributor of the basketball, his high dribbling and aggression can at times turn into a turnover for the team. He has also forced a lot of ill-advised shots that could have been better possessions for his team.
Currently, Barrett is a dominant left-hand ball handler. If he can improve his right hand, it’ll open up his game even more and undoubtedly make him one of the elite players at the next level. Being a streaky shooter at times when he hops back into old habits can be troubling in the NBA. Even though he has a solid shot, Barrett can sometimes lack confidence and settle for a closer more difficult shot. His decision making with regards to shooting has to improve for him to become a more respected shooter.
R.J. Barrett has the intangibles, size, and motor to be the number one overall pick when June comes around. His teammate Zion Williamson might be his biggest competition as they continue to dismantle competition together. Barrett has the point guard skills to play the one and also be an exceptional ball distributor at the next level with his elite IQ and motor on the court. The right team could find their franchise cornerstone if they develop his shot and help him channel his aggression at a high level on the floor.