It’s officially rumor season now that the lottery is complete and the NBA draft has been set for November 18.   Deciphering legitimate developments from smokescreens is always an important exercise during this time…

It’s officially rumor season now that the lottery is complete and the NBA draft has been set for November 18. Deciphering legitimate developments from smokescreens is always an important exercise during this time…

Rick Rycroft/Associated Press
RJ Hampton’s improving jumper: Buying
One of the biggest challenges for evaluators in 2020 is assessing prospects’ improvement since their final game, considering the extended length of this year’s layoff. RJ Hampton hasn’t played since January 12, over eight months ago. That’s an enormous amount of time for a teenager to improve his jump shot, particularly during a pandemic, when social activities and other distractions are limited.
SNY’s Ian Begley spoke with former NBA shooting specialist Mike Miller, who spent last year as an assistant under Penny Hardaway at Memphis and is now training a potential lottery pick in Hampton. Miller made some noteworthy comments regarding Hampton’s shooting, a giant swing skill for the 6’5″ combo guard.
“With him and the way he plays, if he shootswhich I’m pretty confident inin the next two-three years he’ll be a high-30s, low-40s percent three-point shooter, he’ll be one of the best guards in the league,” Miller told Begley.
“The consistencies I’ve seen with him, the stuff that he’s worked on, it’s the same stuff that I’ve worked on with tons of shooters in the league and I’ve seen the transformation, so I’m not guessing.”
While all trainers tout their students, Miller’s level of confidence is quite persuasive, particularly given his credibility and reputation for connecting with young players.
In 19 NBL games (including exhibitions), Hampton shot 15-of-53 from three and a promising 76.2 percent from the free-throw line. To suggest that in a few years he could go from capable to proficient isn’t far-fetched. From what we saw overseas, Hampton could make outside shots, just not consistently.
Given his explosiveness attacking the basket and playmaking ability off the dribble, he doesn’t need to shoot at Mike Miller levels. Even reaching the 35.0 percent three-point mark on average volume could go a long way for Hampton.
While there are scouts who’ve cooled on him, it also wouldn’t be surprising if Hampton were able to sway one lottery team that’s willing to bet on his jump-shot development.

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