RJ Hampton‘s stock has dipped a little in the last year, as he’s no longer a slam-dunk lottery pick, ranking 13th overall on ESPN’s big board. However, Hampton feels that spending the season in New Zealand was a learning experience and believes he’s still very capable of being a difference-maker at the NBA level, as he tells Ian Begley of SNY.tv.
“I was a projected top-five pick last year. I went overseas, I learned a lot, I didn’t have superior numbers and I was kind of forgotten about,” Hampton said. “The message that I was trying to get across (in his video meeting with the Knicks) is, ‘I’m still that same player. I’m still that player that can get you 20-25 points, 6-7 assists, be that lead guard and a franchise changer.'”
Hampton’s jump shot, particularly from beyond the arc, is one potential area of concern for NBA teams. However, former NBA sharpshooter Mike Miller, who has been helping Hampton train in Memphis, is confident that the youngster will eventually be a “high-30s, low-40s percent three-point shooter,” as Begley relays.
“It’s not a guess. I’ve seen the progress he’s done in two months, so I know what the progress is going to be in three years,” Miller said. “… When he continues the way he’s training, he’ll be so dynamic in the NBA.”
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- Asked earlier this week by Bob Costas on CNN about the NBA’s relationship with a “brutal human rights abuser like China,” commissioner Adam Silver offered a long explanation for why the league is continuing to try to grow the game there (link via Sopan Deb of The New York Times). “I think those are decisions are for our government, in terms of where American businesses should operate,” Silver said. “I continue to believe that the people-to-people exchanges we’re seeing by playing in China are positive and it’s helping.”
- Former NBA center Justin Hamilton, who appeared in 113 games for four teams between 2013-17, is signing a new contract with China’s Beijing Ducks, agent Andy Shiffman confirmed to JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link). Emiliano Carchia of Sportando previously reported that Hamilton was expected to remain in Beijing.
- Zach Harper of The Athletic evaluates how much – or how little – the 12 teams eliminated from the postseason so far should be panicking, explaining why the Sixers, Bucks, and Clippers should be a whole lot more concerned than the Nets, Mavericks, and Pacers.