Two years ago

RJ Hampton story on The Athletic

Not sure who subscribes to The Athletic but some fascinating insights about RJ's Dad, the loneliness of being 18 in a foreign place while playing for a professional team, the influence of Modi Maor, LaMelo Ball's keenness for a beach,

One funny tidbit:
(Background stories also read that Shamir got his start working for Rick Pitino. When asked about Shamir by text, Pitino replied, "Never heard of him or seen him before." Asked to clarify, Shamir says he went to Kentucky to observe, not coach.)

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Two years ago

I haven't read the article but I've been impressed with RJ Hampton both with his play and attitude.

There couldn't be a bigger contract between himself and LaMelo, RJ plays within the team system doesn't really try and do too much things that will have NBA scouts salivating over him where as Ball is the complete opposite jacking up bad shot after bad shot whilst being anything but a team guy leading his team to the bottom of the ladder.

Hampton will very likely be drafted higher than Ball and will ultimately have a better career.

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Two years ago

RJ is more ready to play than Ball and probably smarter and has a great future. Ball probably has more up side long term imo. Both will have great careers and glad they came to Australia.

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Two years ago

It feels like Hampton's the one who actually understands why he's here, whereas LaMelo thinks it's just a higher-salary G-League.

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Two years ago

koberulz, what has LaMelo actually done or said which gives you that conclusion? I have not heard him complain, and I have not seen him act unprofessionally, at all during his time here in Australia. I do like Hampton's game more personally myself, but I do not think either have acted immaturely or unprofessionally. I think LaMelo gets a bad wrap mainly because of the attention he is getting, and the fact that BallIsLife is trying their hardest to profit off him. He is losing - A LOT - even being blown out, but he is still putting in the effort and working hard to improve. If anyone on that team has a legitimate gripe it would be him, with the amount of shots which should be automatic missed off his passes.

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Two years ago

koberulz, what has LaMelo actually done or said which gives you that conclusion?
Pretty much exactly what Zodiac said.

I have no idea why you're talking about immaturity or a lack of professionalism, given I never mentioned either thing.

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Two years ago

You should know better than to question the Kobewan
He knows everything and is never wrong

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Two years ago

I really like RJ's maturity and approach.

If LaMelo doesn't go in the first 5, which I think is currently likely, do you think he'll be singing the praises of the Australian experience when he's back home? I doubt it, and I think we should be a bit worried about being used as a scapegoat for his own failings.

Basketball in this country NEEDS the Next Stars to really excel in the draft and beyond.

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Two years ago

Article is behind a paywall. Is it true that the article is negative about his time in NZ and Shamir's coaching? Or is that some in the NZ media just stirring up the post-Boucher rumours?

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Two years ago

I think there must be a lot of Freo Dockers supporters in this forum...
You get it into your head that somebody is going to be the Great White Hope, the saviour of everything.
Then when he isn't, you all turn and the knives come out.

Lamelo is exactly what you would expect. In fact I would say he's surpassing expectations.
He's an 18yr old kid, out here to work on his game, and hopefully generate some exposure. He's also a player on the fastrack to the NBA.
What exactly did people expect from him?
He was never going to be up to the quality of grown men who have been playing professional ball for many years. So these dreams of him winning the league MVP were always pipe-dreams.
But at the same time, he's not out here to work on a career as a backup guard in the NBL. He's here to strut his stuff, build a highlight reel, and audition for the big stage. If we wanted some shrinking violet who would play 5 minutes of pass-first ball off the bench, then I'm afraid we went fishing in the wrong pond.

Next-Stars aren't "imports." There's a reason that they're paid for by the league, and that Teams like Perth and Melbourne (and even Joey and Andre) don't have one. The purpose of the program is to generate international exposure and publicity.

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Two years ago

Ball is a gifted athlete and has good court vision but based on what I have seen on screen is less technically correct than Hampton.

Just take a look at his feet on his outside shots. No wonder his percentage is down.

Also no doubt a quite different personality, naturally, and as has been highlighted many times, has a very different family background, but as far as the sport is concerned I'd suggest he has much more work to do on his skills than Hampton.

Could just read that as Ball having 'more up side' but I'm not sure about that. Suspect Hampton has plenty of 'up side' too, but is starting from a higher base than Ball, based on what I have been seeing.

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Two years ago

^ Agree. Ball has a great "feel for the game" (to use that over-used term) that you can't really teach. I think that's what makes him an exciting prospect. His shooting form is poor, but that can be taught if he puts the work in. Needs to get stronger and better on D, but that's every player his age. It will be his work ethic and personality that determines his ceiling I think.

Hampton is more polished overall at this stage, but he hasn't displayed (to me at least) any one quality that looks elite. He could end up being the better overall pro, but if I was an NBA team picking for potential I'd go with Ball. If I'm an NBL team looking to win this year though, I think Hampton is arguably the better pick.

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Two years ago

Both are showing a lot more than Didi, no matter how much the commentary team talk Didi up.

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Two years ago

Didi wad 2nd round pick, the other two are projected lottery talents.

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Two years ago

lamelo is just a taller austin rivers, rj is a better dantr exum. Both will struggle at the next level.

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Two years ago

^ that's a really interesting comparison for LaMelo that I haven't heard. There are definitely attitude things in common, but outside of that I don't think they're that alike. Rivers is a better shooter, LaMelo is a better passer and finisher. Both are mediocre defensively but it's easier to see LaMelo becoming a plus at that end. The attitude and reasons for it are probably ultimately what define both of them, though. They have some drive, but both have so much money without being good NBA players that they just don't display the focus and motivation of other kids with less potential.

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Two years ago

"lamelo is just a taller austin rivers, rj is a better dantr exum. Both will struggle at the next level."

That is based on who you think they look like, not their style of play.

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