- Another week has passed and now it’s time to take a look at another prospect in the NBA Draft. After looking through many mock drafts, it would seem several sites are absolutely convinced that RJ Hampton will be the pick at No. 11 for the Spurs.
The 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard decided to forego his senior season of high school and play overseas in the NBL for the New Zealand Breakers. He played alright, but struggled to shoot the ball a bit against much stronger and older men. And then he was limited by a hip injury (no surgery) that sidelined him in December before the league was paused. Here are his stats up to that point from the NBL (in about 20.6 minutes per game).
- 8.8 PPG, 1.5 TOPG, 1.1 SPG, 2.4 APG, 3.9 RPG
- 40.7 FG%, 29.5 3P%, 67.9 FT%
Hampton is enticing to teams thanks to his upside and potential — the favorite words of every NBA general manager. He has shown some flashes of what he could be at the next level, especially in transition. He is great in that regard since he can cover ground quickly, gets off the floor in a hurry and is a bouncy athlete. He’s got quick hands and reaction times, but that doesn’t quite translate to the defensive end for him yet.
The young man has a ton of work to do on the defensive end as he loses his man off screens often and is generally inattentive. He will have to get stronger and put on some weight before he can truly defend NBA guards when he puts in the time to get better at it as well.
While Hampton is a likely lottery pick, he will most likely find himself playing in the G-League unless he gets taken by a team who needs help immediately at a combo guard spot. He can’t be trusted to run an offense entirely by himself as he needs another creator on the court with him to help unlock his potential.
As a shooter, Hampton is fairly solid and has good mechanics. He will have to work on a few little things like his feet tending to get too close together (thus affecting his balance) and not jumping from the same spot on his feet for each shot. He’s also good in catch-and-shoot situations, but struggles to really create his own shot at times. He can get to the rim and he actually finishes fairly well, but he is right hand dominant, rarely finishing with his left.
Hampton would be a fine pick, but might be a bit overvalued at 11. I will have more on that next week as I write about why so many mock drafts have him going to the Spurs and why that might not be the right choice.