NBA Draft prospect RJ Hampton told reporters on Tuesday that he has interviewed with the Portland Trail Blazers during the pre-draft process. Hampton, listed as a 6-foot-5 guard with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, played professionally in New Zealand during the 2019-20 season rather than attending college. The Blazers are one of a handful of teams that Hampton has spoken to so far:
RJ Hampton interviewed w/ the Wizards, he says. Also, the Kings, Thunder, Pistons, Suns, Blazers, Knicks & Bulls.— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) September 29, 2020
Hampton would likely be projected higher in mocks if it weren't for a hip injury that hurt his production. Could end up a steal for that reason like Michael Porter.
Explosiveness separates Hampton, who thrives by attacking and getting downhill. He could slip without a bankable, signature skill, but he’d become a steal by building on his flashes of playmaking and improving his capable jump shot.
Hampton appeared in 20 games for the New Zealand Breakers, averaging 8.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 20.6 minutes per contest. He shot 40.7% from the field and only 29.5% from deep.
His stats.nba.com draft profile highlights the flashes that he showed last year:
Playing primarily on the ball last season, Hampton filled a complementary role for a veteran team. His quickness shined in spurts as a shot creator out of the pick and roll and in the open court even though his ball handling ability and jump shot are still evolving to allow him to make the most of it consistently.
Hampton also showcased defensive potential while in New Zealand:
Possessing good size and excellent speed, Hampton has some natural growing to do defensively as he gains experience and gets stronger, but was a difference maker in spurts in his first season as a pro. With the length and quickness to get in the passing lanes and the leaping ability to chase down opposing scorers in transition, he had some impactful moments.
And Hampton’s ability to make a difference in transition is an attractive attribute:
His athleticism was also factor in the open court where he averaged 1.10 points per transition possession [46th percentile] making some spectacular plays weaving his way around defenders and filling lanes to finish above the rim. He also did a better job limiting his mistakes as the year wore on.
You can read an in-depth draft profile of Hampton here. The Blazers hold the No. 16 pick in the upcoming draft, which is scheduled for Nov. 18.