NBA Draft Scouting: RJ Hampton Report

RJ Hampton

New Zealand Breakers

19.2 Years Old

By Max Feldman

Strengths

  • Fluid, long athlete
  • Massive strides, baseline to baseline speed
  • Long arms and quick hands defensively
  • Strong mid-range pull up jumper
  • Creative finisher around the rim
  • Great motor, Pogo stick jumper
  • Switchable defender

Weaknesses

  • Unbalanced jumper, inconsistent base
  • Flat shot, consistently far too short or long on 3’s
  • Lack of touch at all three levels
  • Only has one speed, forces the issue too much
  • Immature reads in P&R situations
  • Not natural at playmaking for others
  • Incredibly poor floater game
  • Lacks any live dribble passing ability
  • Avoids contact too much on both ends

Overview

Hampton is a very interesting case, and while he remains a likely lottery selection, a year in the NBL did not illustrate too much besides his youth and the lack of an NBA ready skillset.

            RJ is an NBA ready athlete, which was not questioned since his junior year of high school. At 6-5, Hampton is a strong rebounder and loves to run using his strides to beat the defense down the court and benefiting off of his athleticism to finish at the rim. In a run and gun game, Hampton’s athleticism is shown off finishing above defenders and hanging in the air on reverse layups. Beyond that, it appears that Hampton has been forced into a role and is trying to prove himself as a prospect that he is not. Hampton was ball dominant in NZ, running the pick and roll while trying to create for himself and others. He struggled making timely passes and dump offs, ignoring open skip passes and opting for contested floaters and jumpers. Each pass comes off a hop step or dumps off of spot ups, as Hampton lacks the instincts to fire off live dribble passes similar to other lead guards in this class. Hampton’s shot has imbalances from the bottom all the way up, where he lacks balance on the way up and has an inconsistent release at the top usually resulting in a very flat trajectory. In one season with the Breakers, Hampton showed little to no high upside in terms of shooting the ball at any level.

            Hampton can show flashes of being a versatile, switchable defender at the next level with his length and quickness but relies on his quick hands too much and jumps at steals putting his teammates in difficult positions. His wiry frame puts him at risk to get bullied in the paint by bigger 2’s and 3’s.

Outlook

            Hampton can be a boost of energy on both off the bench but if he remains stuck in the mentality that he has to be a lead ball handler, there might be some Dante Exum here. There is potential to flourish as a bouncy off ball slashing scorer but the role he is forced into early with the team that selects will determine which route he takes. A talented athlete and slasher, but he is stuck in a box trying to prove himself as a 3 level scorer and playmaker with plus size similar to Ball, Hayes and Haliburton.

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