R.J. Hampton might have a better career than Lamelo.

The hype coming out of the NBL is always how good Lamelo Ball is playing. You see the highlight plays and the hype for the number one pick and you too start believing Lamelo Ball is the NBL’s next star that will be the best NBA prospect. While its true that Lamelo seems more skilled at the moment and has more skills in his bag that translate to the NBA, there is one thing that R.J. Hampton has that will translate to the NBA more than Lamelo: elite NBA athleticism. Not only does he have elite NBA athleticism, but he has the shot mechanics that will translate well to the NBA once he develops his strength. I have made the mistake in the past of watching a player with advanced shot making ability then expect their skill set to translate to the NBA much better than a so called player with elite NBA athleticism. In recent drafts, I thought that R.J. Barret would be better than Zion; I thought Carmelo would be better than Lebron; and I thought Michael Beasley would be better than Derrick Rose. What the latter player had in common over the player with more advanced shotmaking skillset, was elite athleticism and great work ethic. R.J. Hampton versus Lamelo works in the same way. While Lamelo has NBA level shot making and is a great passer, one thing that will handicap him is the Lavar Ball offense that he and his brothers ran since they where kids. When you watch them play they do well running up and down in a Mike D’Antoni-type offense, but as soon as you get them in half court they basically are average to below average players. Combine that with average NBA athleticism and they have trouble beating their man in the half court. For this reason, Lamelo will struggle in the NBA much like his brother has and he is already showing some of the same problems in the NBL that Lonzo shows in the NBA. When you see R.J. Hampton, the only issue he has in the NBL at the moment is that he is too skinny to complete with pros. Once his body starts filling out, this guy has some Ja Morant type athleticism that will allow him to keep blowing by NBA defenders, and his competitiveness will allow him to be a star in the NBA. While R.J. will need some time to fill out physically ,once he does he has the shooting mechanics necessary to be a star in the NBA. Lamelo might end up going higher in the draft, but ten years from now R.J. will have a bigger impact on the NBA.


I am an avid football and basketball fan following the two sports for the last 25 years.

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