Just days after we heard that LaMelo Ball would be sidelined into the new year due to a foot injury, the other top prospect playing in Australia’s National Basketball League has been ruled out until 2020 with an injury of his own. According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, New Zealand Breakers point guard R.J. Hampton will miss approximately four weeks due to a hip flexor injury.
Hampton, who opted to play in the NBL rather than spend a year at college leading up to the 2020 draft, has had an up-and-down year for the Breakers. In 12 games (22.1 MPG), the 18-year-old has averaged 9.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 2.5 APG with a .430/.324/.654 shooting line.
Despite his modest NBL production, Hampton is still considered a likely lottery pick for the 2020 draft. Givony, who notes that the youngster is currently ranked seventh on ESPN’s big board, has lauded Hampton’s versatile offensive game and his potential to become an explosive combo guard.
As Givony details, NBA scouts and decision-makers had been making plans to scout Hampton and Bell in the coming weeks, particularly with their teams set to face each other on December 22. It sounds like those plans will have to be postponed — both players are expected to get healthy and rejoin their teams before the NBL regular season ends in mid-February.