With the Cavs in the midst of a horrid season, there is little to cheer about. One thing that we have been doing since the beginning of the season is talking about Duke forward Zion Williamson and how he will fit with the Cavs next season. While all the hype is with Zion, a case can be made that his teammate R.J. Barrett is the better player.
Forward R.J. Barrett is 6’7” and 202 lbs. He’s from Canada and was the highest ranked player on the RSCI Top 100 in 2018, while Zion Williamson was ranked at #4. Barrett is more of a typical wing player with his slimmer frame. Duke has quite the lineup as besides for Barrett and Zion, they also have forward Cam Reddish and guard Tre Jones. All four are expected to be first round picks.
Barrett’s 23.1 points per game has him ranked first in points per game in the ACC. He averages a drop over seven rebounds per game and close to four assists per game. While his field goal percentage is not as high as Zion Williamson’s, Barrett takes a lot more outside shots. He has hit 49 three pointers, which is more than Zion has taken. Nine times this season Barrett has scored over 25 points. Finally, while he is not considered an amazing rebounder, he has had four games with double-digit rebounds.
In his most recent game this past Saturday against Virginia, Barrett scored 26 points grabbed seven rebounds and had three assists. He went 6 – 10 from three point range, which is the highest amount of three pointers he hit all season. On January 19, Duke played Virginia for the first time this season. In that game Barrett scored 30 points with five rebounds and three assists.
What might be the best scenario for the Cavs is that they do not get the first pick in the draft and whoever does picks Zion Williamson at #1. The Cavs could end up with the second or third pick in the NBA Draft and end up getting the best player in R.J. Barrett. While only time will tell what will occur, the Cavs are in a great position to improve next season. We should all hope that happens because all this losing is discouraging.
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