R.J. Barrett: Tools
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 is fast. He isn’t The Flash fast, nor does he shrink the court like LeBron or Giannis, but he can get end-to-end on the dribble in a hurry. He has great stride lengths and can push the ball out in front of him to easily outstrip smaller defenders, even at the NBA level. His speed in the open court is more impressive than the half court, however. His athleticism tends to be more fluid than explosive; his short area burst is somewhat underwhelming for a player that is a primary scorer.
Although he doesn’t always show it, especially on the defensive end, Barrett has great lateral quickness. He can slide by opposing perimeter defenders and can stay locked on, sliding his feet to keep his man out of the lane. You might notice a bit of a theme here, but one of the major points holding Barrett back is consistent engagement. He has excellent physical tools, but applying them is more than half the battle.
Barrett's explosiveness isn't anything to write home about, however when paired with his fluid athleticism and robust frame he can be a handful in the air. He is much more adept jumping out than up and uses his body control to slide past defenders. He can elevate well off two feet, though his second jump lacks a little power and he is a much better jumper off his dominant (left) foot than off his right.
Barrett’s body control is his strongest physical tool. His ability to slither through small spaces enables him to consistently get to the rim despite not being an explosive athlete. Combined with his strong agility, keeping him out of the paint is nearly impossible when he has a little bit of space to work with. This is key to his success in transition, and bodes well for him in the NBA with better spacing and more pick and rolls to help him gain that initial separation.
Barrett has an ideal frame for an NBA wing. He is 6’7” tall with good upper body strength, and his frame enables him to move fluidly around the court. His lower body needs work, a deficiency which shows up when defending larger players, but most players his age lack significant strength below the waist. His wingspan is average for his height. He will be a tough matchup for most 2s in the NBA and could look to add more strength as he ages.