R.J. Barrett: On-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.
Barrett has a good handle for his size and gets to where he wants to go on the court. He creates catch-and-shoot and close out opportunities for teammates by driving and kicking. Does a good job of putting defenders in jail by keeping them on his hip when using ball screens. He uses his length well and can easily outstrip defenders when pushing the pace with the ball in his hands. He is a primary handler, through and through, and will need to tighten some of his more complex moves and learn to chain them together to become a truly elite ball handler.
He has the ability to use his scoring presence to create shots for others. Finds open shooters when he is looking to pass and does a good job of zipping passes cross court to open teammates when the defense collapses. He has the ability to make different kinds of passes depending on the situation and has great touch and feel on lob passes, zips, and cross court skips. He's a scorer first and foremost, and more often than not has blinders on when looking to create for himself. He has good ability when he is a passer, however he needs to focus more on creating for others to truly capture his offensive potential.
Shooting off the dribble
Confident and smooth off the bounce, Barrett elevates straight up and has good touch and sound mechanics. He has a good arc on shot and can seamlessly transition from bounce to pull up (for more on his mechanics, check out the R.J.’s shot form assessment).
Finishing off the dribble
Many of our scouts noted his scores would be higher in this area, but his poor shot selection knocked him down a bit. He has a variety of dribble moves when attacking the teeth of the defense, but his most effective weapon is his length and strength, powering his way through opponents. He is excellent when he can get all the way to the rim, but lacks touch on shots when stopped short. He uses his elite body control to gets shots off despite help defenders and a thicket of arms. Getting all the way to the rim using his quickness and length will be vital to converting in the paint at an NBA level.
Finishing in the post
During their recent trip to Charlottesville, the Blue Devils tried to take advantage of Barrett’s size by letting him go to work in the low post against Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy, but both possessions resulted in turnovers (an offensive foul and an errant pass). In a very limited sample size, Barrett has shown a nice face up game, establishing good position and elevating over defenders. He hasn't quite mastered sealing off opponents when he is deep in the post, and his touch in back-to-the-basket situations is suspect, his sturdy frame and lengthy wingspan are a nice starting point for developing this skill. Go-to wing scorers like LeBron James and Kevin Durant both developed their quick post skills as they aged to take advantage of their physical tools.
Note: grades of N/A will be revisited later in the season when there is a greater sample to draw from. At the time of this writing, Barrett had just seven post-up attempts. Grading based on that would be little more than a guess.