R.J. Barrett is player who may have peaked in high school. While that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t end up being a highly productive professional, it just means his skill-set might have already topped out. Aside from his physicality and NBA-ready body, Barrett doesn’t possess one skill that jumps off the screen at you. He is solid across the board, but doesn’t exemplify one elite skill to set himself apart.
A lot of R.J. Barrett’s downsides show from an intangible, effort standpoint. His effort on the defensive end comes and goes throughout the game, and is never really present with much consistency. Barrett tends to become a selfish offensive player when things aren’t going well for the team. He took a lot of questionable shots this season, ruining the offensive flow when Zion Williamson or Cam Reddish were taking over games. Barrett comes off as a player with an alpha personality and a beta skill-set.
Offensively, Barrett’s right hand is almost a complete non-factor. Even when defenses give him the right side, he still forces it back left back into traffic. He didn’t show the ability to score off the dribble at all during his one season at Duke. Between his sloppy, loose handle and his inconsistent outside jumper, Barrett isn’t a very explosive half-court player. He’s elite in the open court, but incredibly raw in the half-court with no real signs of improvement — very Andrew Wiggins-like.