Last week, Marc Berman of the Post wrote that the Nets are “extremely interested” in R.J. Hampton, the 6’6” combo guard who played in New Zealand last year after being a five-star recruit in high school.
On Monday, Berman reported that the Nets have worked out Hampton. Considering the limits on actual workouts laid down by the league, that would suggest that Berman’s earlier report of interest is accurate. The NBA Draft, a virtual affair this year, will be held November 18, nine days from now. Here’s Berman’s news...
In further evidence of the Nets’ seriousness, the club worked out combo guard RJ Hampton in Memphis within the last two weeks, The Post has learned...
According to sources, Hampton has spent part of the pandemic working out with Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway and his former assistant coach Mike Miller, a standout 3-point shooter in the NBA.
Miller stepped down from the Memphis staff in June. A source told The Post Miller may transition into becoming an agent, with Hampton as a potential client.
Before agreeing to play with the New Zealand Breakers of Australia’s NBL, Hampton had committed to Memphis and Hardaway.
Hampton had previously visited with the Knicks, but Berman wrote recently that New York doesn’t think him worthy of their No. 8 pick and don’t think he’ll last until their other first round pick, at No. 27. Berman wrote of that — and a Sean Marks hometown connection last Monday...
According to a source, the Knicks believe picking Hampton at No. 8 is too much of a reach. But Brooklyn is extremely interested in Hampton if he falls to No. 19.
Hampton and the Nets have been linked before because of Nets GM Sean Marks’ heritage. Instead of going to college, Hampton played with the New Zealand Breakers. Marks, the former Spurs forward, hails from Auckland — the largest city in New Zealand.
Hampton has been linked to the Nets at No. 19 by various mock drafts over the last several weeks, perhaps more than any other prospect but opinion on where he’ll land is very divided among draftniks.
In its Top 100 list, out last week, ESPN had Hampton at No. 14, the end of the Draft Lottery. Both CBS Sports and SB Nation link the Texas native to the Nets in their most recent mocks. The Post’s Brian Lewis has him at No. 18 in his mock. Sports Illustrated has Hampton at No. 20. Two other mocks, the Ringer and Yardbarker, have him going in the early 20’s.
Might the Nets move up if they really wanted Hampton? They’ve done that twice, both in Marks first year, 2016. He traded Thaddeus Young to Indiana for the rights to Caris LeVert, taken at No. 20 in the first round and a future second; then used cash considerations to move up from No. 55 to No. 46 in the second to acquire Brooklynite Isaiah Whitehead. There’s been speculation this year that with several NBA owners hurt by the economic downturn and the mediocre nature of the Draft, cash considerations could be a factor in the first round.
Hyperathletic and often compared to the Bulls’ Zach Lavine, Hampton is seen as raw but entirely capable of developing a more all-around game. Berman noted that “Miller and Hardaway have done wonders with Hampton’s shooting stroke and ballhandling,” quoting unidentified sources.
He’s also not shy about touting his skills.
“I think I’m the best prospect in the draft,’’ Hampton told ESPN last week. “Just the combination of speed, size, grit, toughness, the ability to change plays on the defensive and offensive end and then having that experience in the NBL.”
Here are some highlights...
- Nets work out RJ Hampton as NBA draft interest grows - Marc Berman - New York Post
- Nets 2020 NBA Mock Draft Roundup: R.J. Hampton a popular option at No. 19 - Corey Hersch - SNY
- Nets work out NBL’s RJ Hampton ahead of NBA Draft: report - Coby Green - SNY