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Analysing The Strengths and Weakness of Duke's R.J. Barrett 

Jason Mills

Barrett could be a hot pick in the draft next year
Barrett could be a hot pick in the draft next year

The Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team features three potential future NBA stars. Its also quite possible these three young men could be selected, in the 2019 NBA Draft, first, second, and third, overall. 

The Blue Devils have won five NCAA Championships, appeared in 11 Championship games, and made 16 final four appearances.   

Coach Mike Krzyzewski, or Coach “K”, as he is known, has seen many a great talent step, on the court, for Duke, since March, of 1980. 

Some of the NBA greats he has coached, in his near 40-year career, at Duke, include, Shane Battier, Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand, Grant Hill, Kyrie Irving, Corey Maggette, Jayson Tatum and Marvin Bagley III. 

There are others. This year, Coach K, gets to mold potential stars, like power forward Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cameron Reddish. All three young men have had an impact, in the Blue Devils season, as the team is 9-1 currently. 

Today we will profile the strengths and weaknesses of R.J. Barrett. Barrett is a Canadian freshman playing small forward, for the Duke Blue Devils.

Barrett is the son of Canadian international Rowan Barrett. Rowan is currently the Executive Vice President and Assistant General Manager for Canada’s national Basketball team. 

R.J. gets his basketball pedigree, from his father, Rowan, who, during his playing days, played basketball internationally, in Argentina, Cyprus, Israel, France and Italy.

Rowan, a 6’6 small forward, represented Canada, at the FIBA Ameri-Cup, winning silver, in 1999. Rowan also represented Canada, at the 2000 Summer Olympics, in Sydney Australia. 


In 1996, Rowan Barrett went undrafted, although he was eligible, for the NBA Draft. Rowan Barrett was signed, by the Toronto Raptors, in 1997 and again in 1999, by the Raptors, and the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Rowan never played in an actual NBA game. This will not be the case for R.J. Barrett, who looks to begin a long prosperous career, in the NBA, starting on June 20th, 2019, at the NBA Draft Night.

R.J. Barrett’s Strengths:

Barrett also shows good offensive awareness, in making good passes, to his teammates
Barrett also shows good offensive awareness, in making good passes, to his teammates

The Duke Blue Devils have three big-name collegiate stars. When you watch their games, or highlights, of their games, you cannot focus, on one player, without noticing the other two. R.J. Barrett definitely stands out. 

He has good speed and quickness, in the open floor. He runs hard to fill lanes, on the fast break. He finishes extremely well, at the basket and through contact, especially, since he only weighs 202 pounds at 6’7. 

Barrett also shows good offensive awareness, in making good passes, to his teammates. 

This makes him a possible point forward, at the NBA level. He also shows a strong ability to handle the ball. He often advances the ball the length of the court, before distributing or finishing plays himself. Barrett currently is averaging 4.2 assists per game, through 10 games, with Duke. 

Another really strong aspect of his game is his ability to catch and shoot and do so, from long range, as well. Barrett makes 37.3%, of his three-point attempts. 

Shooting the three-pointer has become a necessity, for most NBA players. Barrett rebounds well, for a 202 pound, 6”7 small forward. He has recorded 72 rebounds, for an average, of 7.2 per game.

Barrett is averaging 24.2 points per game on 47.9% shooting, from the field, which is a solid shooting percentage. The Duke Blue Devils have three game changers, on their roster, this season and Barrett clearly is one of them.

R.J. Barrett’s Weaknesses:

Barrett's lightweight and slender size may also affect his effectiveness

Like his teammate, Zion Williamson, there is not much to nitpick, about Barrett. However, unlike Williamson, who may need to slim down, from his college playing weight, of 285 pounds, when he gets to the NBA, Barrett might want to bulk up. 

At 202 pounds, bigger stronger players await Barrett, in the NBA, and Barrett might get pushed around. 

Barrett's lightweight and slender size may also affect his effectiveness, of finishing after contact, which he is good at, in college. However, at the NBA level the physicality, of the competition, is greater. 

Barrett may also need to work on his free throw shooting. In his 10 games, at Duke, so far, Barrett has connected, on just 63.3%, of his charity stripe attempts.

 Barrett does show a strong ability to go the length, of the floor, leading the offence and creating offensive opportunities, for himself and teammates.

However, Duke’s only loss this season came against Gonzaga. With time running out, at the end, of the game, Barrett lost the ball, by getting stripped, in the two-point loss. Barrett may need to work on protecting the ball better, when advancing it, up the court.

 R.J. Barrett may be the second overall pick, at the NBA Draft, in 2019

R.J. Barrett may be the second man taken, in this trifecta of greatness
R.J. Barrett may be the second man taken, in this trifecta of greatness

Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils are mostly concerned, with their collegiate season, and the upcoming March Madness tournament, for right now. However, they may pull off an unusual hat trick, at the 2019 NBA Draft.

Duke University among all its other great accomplishments, at the collegiate level, has provided the NBA, with many a great talent, over the years. 

Duke is poised to send the top 3 picks, in the 2019 NBA Draft, into basketball stardom, this coming summer.

R.J. Barrett may be the second man taken, in this trifecta of greatness. Barrett's name, from the Duke Blue Devils, will be called, by NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, at the 2019 NBA Draft.

The only real question now is, which NBA franchise will have the benefit, of acquiring, a desperately needed talent boost?

For the moment, NBA franchises, like the Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks have the strongest chance at landing one, of Duke's, high profile stars.

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