The laments about the quality of the 2019 NBA Draft don’t extend to the top of it. The best prospects in the class could likely go head-to-head with just about any other year. Leading the way is Duke freshman RJ Barrett.
Barrett, the consensus top prep prospect in the 2018 high school class, is one of the most successful youth players in recent memory. In 2017, he was named MVP of Basketball Without Borders and led Canada to its first gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Cup, a run that included an impressive 38 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in a semifinal win over the United States.
As a senior, he was named National Player of the Year and led Montverde Academy to a national championship. Then he scooped up the MVP award at the 2018 Nike Hoop Summit to close out his high school career. Barrett’s been really good for a while.
The 18-year-old wing fits the mold of what NBA teams are looking for on the perimeter. He measures in at 6-7 with a 6-9 wingspan and an 8-6 standing reach. Barrett already has a relatively mature body at 202 pounds, although he’ll need to add a bit of a strength if he wants his bully-ball tactics to work at the next level. He’s also a plus athlete who can play in space vertically and uses long strides with the ball in his hands to create space.