R.J. Barrett: Intelligence
Our scouting grades represent the composite opinion of at least three different scouts. Each category is graded based on how we view a player’s current ability level relative to NBA players at the same position (guard, wing, forward or big). A grade of 1 indicates replacement level, a grade of 5 indicates NBA average, and a grade of 10 indicates historically elite. Our composite scouting notes help provide context for our grades.
Barrett's court awareness seems to ebb and flow throughout the course of each game. He can be impressive for significant stretches, but is still prone to losing track of the game. He has shown good vision and can find shooters/creates for others. But sometimes, he can get locked into a "score or nothing" mindset. When he lets the game come to him, he can be dynamic as a playmaker with the ball, but when he forces the issue, he's very susceptible to charges and low quality, contested looks. He seems to get tunnel vision on both ends (with the majority of his attention being dedicated to what happens on the ball) which blinds him from recognizing what the situation would necessitate.
As with many high-level players, Barrett always wants to do MORE when the game is tight. On offense, he usually tries to take on defenses with a live dribble when he gets the ball in go-to situations. He is, however, learning to trust his teammates more as the season goes on and has the capability of becoming a quality facilitator. Defensively, he needs to take significant strides, learning to keep his head on a swivel and address off-ball actions while still maintaining an eye on the ball.
Barrett is a scorer, above all else. Everything he does is predicated by his ability to create buckets for himself. He seems to have a good eye for his teammates when he is looking to distribute, but is not a high level passer who can pass players open into space. He has a scorer's mentality and as a result his shot selection can be atrocious. He will charge headlong into a bevy of help defenders as if his body control and sheer will are enough to yield results.
Barrett is VERY decisive in spot ups, handoffs, or off screens from the moment he gets involved as the focal point of a play. The ball can stick in his hands more than it needs to and he had a tendency to over dribble while assessing the defense. He tends to be a more “on-the-move” reader and makes better decisions in transition than in half court sets. If a team decides to set him up as their primary initiator, he will have some rocky games as he learns to read half court defenses.
Anticipation (A to C)
His defensive positioning is good however he can be late on rotations, especially when the ball moves towards secondary action. On offense, he can be caught off guard by defensive rotations when passing the ball, especially when he is looking for those survival passes. He is also suspect to drawing charges as help side defenders rotate, though his body control saves him from many such instances. When pressured, he can also get caught on his second step, forcing him to hoist a bad shot or to turn the ball over.