R.J. Barrett: Off-Ball Offense
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.
Movement & positioning
Barrett has been less than impressive when moving without the basketball this season. He can be disengaged when he is off the ball during offensive sets and often only moves to get the ball. When he does stay locked in half court sets he can be a deadly cutter, but his overall engagement needs to improve. He is dangerous flashing to the high post and can make plays for himself quickly once he gets the ball in space, reading the defense effectively on the move. This skill is of variable importance, depending on how each team views Barrett as a prospect. While some teams might try to develop him as a secondary player (which might be the smarter choice, given his affinity for dominating the ball as an initiator), most will likely prefer to lean into his primary ball handling abilities, diminishing the importance of this category.
Barrett hasn’t registered a single possession where he has served as the screener this season, so anything we say here is heavily couched with speculation. He has has an excellent frame for a wing and can absorb contact. He is also a solid shooter in catch-and-shoot situations. While he will likely never be a devastating roll man, he can certainly adapt his game to brush actions and fades, should the need arise.
Note: grades of N/A will be revisited later in the season when there is a greater sample to draw from. Grading based on the current small sample would be little more than a guess.
Shooting off the catch
Another area where his poor shot selection affected his score, Barrett has shown a penchant for hoisting ill-advised shots early in the shot clock. He has smooth mechanics, keeping his feet square and flicking his wrist, and confidence to take and make nearly any shot on the court. His percentages haven’t quite caught up to his confidence yet, however his solid mechanics will allow him to stretch his game out to the NBA arc.
Shooting off movement
Because of the attention his teammates draw, most of his perimeter shooting opportunities come from in spot up situations. However, he is a fluid athlete and the small sample size suggests he would be capable. He will need to speed his release up slightly, to prevent defenses from adjusting and contesting his attempts. Similar to 2.1, the beauty of this skill set is in the eye of the beholder. Barrett tends to be more comfortable creating for himself with a live dribble, but has shown the ability to make quick decisions reacting to defenses while moving without the ball.
Finishing off movement
Barrett has excellent body control and uses his length and strength well when attacking the rim. He can effectively seal smaller defenders and has enough explosiveness to get to the top of his jump quickly. He has soft hands and can handle even errant passes while on the move and still get into his scoring motion. His strength and ability to absorb contact will be critical as he transitions to the NBA game.