While the basketball world was in awe of Zion Williamson's year at Duke, we might have overlooked how special of a prospect RJ Barrett truly is. Now if you don't know much about Barrett coming into this article, let us educate you quickly. Barrett was a consensus number 1 overall recruit coming out of high school. He was originally slated for the 2019 class but reclassified to 2018 in order to play for Duke last year. Yes, even after his reclassification Barrett was still the consensus number 1 recruit over his teammate Zion Williamson. RJ is originally from Canada and showed serious flashes of promise during his time playing for the Candian national team. His father, who played collegiately for St.Johns as well as professionally overseas, is the Vice President and Assistant General Manager of Canada Basketball. Barrett stands out immediately on film due to his overall combination of offensive versatility and scoring potential on the wing. While still a bit raw, there's no denying that Barrett has star potential in this draft class, especially with the added spacing at the next level.
Not often do you see a wing with such positive measurements and Barrett is positive across the board. These are his reported measurements, as Barrett chose not to get measured at the NBA Combine in Chicago. We will update Barrett's measurements throughout the draft process. As of now, Barrett's physical profile is close to identical as San Antonio Spurs guard Demar DeRozan.
Barrett's points per game will jump off the page at you immediately. You don't often see a prospect this highly regarded averaging north of 20 points per game. While Barrett's field goal attempts per game are high, his shooting percentage makes up for it. The shooting from 3 might scare some, but Barrett is a bit streaky and has shown the ability to get hot in a hurry. I'd definitely like to see his free throw percentage at least in the 70% range, but let's take that with a grain of salt.
One of Barrett's most criticized parts of his game is his outside shooting. We get a good look here at something he's going to need to work on. The result is a make, but we get an example of something that Barrett will need to develop. Notice the long load up on his 3 point shot. RJ brings the ball low when he's gathering himself. This is something that should develop with a shooting coach and some additional upper body strength.
FINISHING WITH CONTACT
One of Barrett's best assets is his ability to finish around the rim. We get a good look here at Barrett doing a great job of using his body to get into the defender to create contact. It might look like something small to most, but by Barrett doing this, he's creating a disadvantage for the defender to potentially block his shot.
Remember when we talked above about how Barrett has a long load up on his shot from 3? Well, take a look here at Barrett's load up. It's pretty here. Quick, short, get's his shot up in a fluid motion. Very little load up from Barrett here and it's something that we most likely will see develop over time.
FREE THROW FORM
Barrett's Free Throw percentages will leave you questioning his ability at the line. While it's not a draft stock breaker, you still would love to see a potential top 5 pick somewhere in the mid 70% at least. Here we see his form from the line and it's nothing too complex. Hopefully, with repetition, we will see Barrett's numbers jump from the line.
A lot of times throughout this recent Collegiate season we heard a lot of criticism on RJ about his tendency to get "tunnel vision." This game against Syracuse was an important one to prove that Barrett has great potential as a playmaker. I usually try to stay away from Syracuse film because of their zone defense, but Barrett just made too many plays to pass this one up. Good drive and baseline kick here by RJ and the pass is right on the money.
OUTSIDE SHOOTING PART II
Another good look at RJ's shooting from outside here. Notice again, we get a little bit of a long gather on his deep ball. I like this clip specifically because we get to see RJ constantly moving without the ball. A good read to deliver the pass to the corner, and then RJ relocates to create additional spacing which sets him up for a shot off a pass from Tre Jones.
PASSING VISION PART II
Beautiful read and delivery here from RJ. This might look like an easy pass but it had to be in the perfect location to get over the defender. Barrett does a sneaky good job of using ball fakes to set up passing lanes.
FOOTWORK & PATIENCE
For all you footwork fans out there, this one is pretty. Great job of demonstrating patience in the key here by Barrett who looks to be in a bit of trouble but does a great job of feeling his defender and setting him up with some nice footwork before the easy two.
Again, another beautiful read and pass from Barrett here who leads the shooter like an NFL quarterback here. I love to see when prospects can "pass someone open" and that's just what Barrett does here. Nothing fancy, but he hits the shooter right on the money.
Just a pretty play overall here. Barrett with a fantastic ball fake to get the Syracuse defender on his heels before a bigtime 3 ball with the shot clock winding down.
OFF THE DRIBBLE
Barrett shows us a glimpse of how smooth he is when getting in traffic. Great job of attacking the smaller defender off of the dribble here and a nice gather before he glides to the rim.
ISO PART I
I wanted to make sure to get a couple of looks of RJ Barrett in isolation and here's our first good example of his abilities as a scorer. This is a very well defended play but that's an NBA move right there. Great job by Barrett of using a fadeaway to get his shot off against a heavily contested defender.
ISO PART II
Again another look at Barrett in an isolation opportunity. It doesn't look like much, but this is a very nice NBA caliber move. Simple, yet effective. A good example of quickness and balance before Barrett goes up for the jumper. Too easy.
As of now, it looks as if RJ Barrett will be a top candidate to be chosen 3rd overall by the New York Knicks. His film stands out as a prospect that can develop into a versatile scorer at all three levels in the NBA. His game is a bit raw and will need some fine-tuning, but that's expected with someone who won't turn 19 until June. Barrett will be criticized in a number of different areas. He's a bit left-handed dominate and his shooting mechanics need to become more consistent but the tools are impressive. Barrett has the potential to turn into a star but time will tell if he blossoms into the player we all hope he can become.