RJ Hampton is another young player that decided to skip college and play professionally overseas. Can’t say that I blame the guy, but in some people’s eyes he could be seen as playing “weaker” competition leading to questions about his skill set. There’s a lot of hype surrounding Hampton. Is the hype real? What holds some draft experts from getting fully behind Hampton?
Strengths: Quickness, Athleticism
Hampton is quick. The guy looks like lightening moving up and down the court. He can grab the defensive board and be at half court in two or three dribbles. His ability to get out and start the fast break is on par with other top guards in the draft. Hampton didn’t seem too crafty on his dribble moves, but was still blowing by defenders just because he’s quicker than them. Quick cuts and good movement without the ball are elevated by his athleticism. Massive hops and can contend for rebounds. Hampton comes with a few extra perks that other guards in the class, making him a desirable prospect.
Weaknesses: Finishing in Traffic, Shooting
Sometimes weaknesses can be overlooked because either the player has a strength that’s stronger than a weakness or it’s a fixable weakness. My worry with RJ Hampton is that his weaknesses right now may outweigh his strengths. Hampton shot terribly from the field. 40% overall, 29% from 3, and 68% from the free throw line for 9ppg. That’s not good, especially given that he averaged only about 20 minutes a game in the NBL. Yes, you could say that he didn’t have good numbers because he had no playing time and was later injured. But he’s supposed to be a top 10 pick based on these numbers?
I was once fairly high on Hampton, but now I don’t know. Again, he has a lot of upside, but I think it will be longer before Hampton is really effective compared to other guards in the class. There is a possibility that Hampton has a big fall in the draft. Not only could Hampton not be a top 10 pick, I’m not fully convinced that he should be a lottery pick.