As expected, Duke’s R.J. Barrett declares for NBA draft, is likely top five pick

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R.J. Barrett entered college as the projected No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and a lock one-and-done player. While Blue Devil teammate Zion Williamson passed Barrett for the No. 1 pick, the part about Barrett spending only one season in Durham was never in question.

As expected, Barrett declared for the NBA Draft, making his announcement Wednesday.

At 6’7” Barrett looks the part of a prototypical NBA wing. He likely goes No. 2 or 3 in this draft (depending on who gets the pick and how they feel about Ja Morant), but as NBC’s own Rob Dauster said if Barrett was in last year’s draft he might go 7 or 8. He’s good, but more NBA starter/rotation player good, not elite player good.

He put up numbers at Duke, averaging 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists a game. As Sam Vecenie of the Athletic noted, the last guy to go better than 22/7/4 in college was Penny Hardaway. With all the talent at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski still ran the offense through Barrett.

His next test is how his game fits in the NBA, where he will play more of a role and has to work off the ball more.