Last year, the Blue Devils rocked rims in college arenas nationwide. Now, four of them prepare to do the same to pro rims, both real and virtual. In anticipation of NBA 2K20’s September 6 release date, the Blue Zone tries its hand at predicting the ratings of a quartet of Duke rookies, with focuses on some defining attributes.
A little under two weeks ago, NBA 2K released its first batch of overall ratings for this year’s game, including its top 20 overall players and top five rookies. Thus, there’s really not much to predict here—Barrett will start the season as the third-highest rated rookie in the game at a 78 overall, three points behind former teammate Zion Williamson and one behind the Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant.
It’s hard to argue with this one. R.J. enters the league with the same rating 2K gave to Marvin Bagley III a season ago, a 78 overall that was also good for third in his rookie class. And even if you envisioned Barrett joining Williamson in the 80+ tier, there’s still no reason to lose hope—Bagley jumped to an 82 overall by season’s end. Now here’s where we get to the speculation side of things.
Driving Layup: 84
One of Barrett’s most redeeming qualities is his aptitude at finishing inside. From an impressive ability to get his shot off in traffic to a beautiful touch off the glass, the former All-American can score at will when he gets into the paint. If you’re using him, make sure that’s where you take the majority of your shots.
Defensive Rebounding: 75
Another skill of R.J.’s that has gone largely under the radar is his defensive rebounding. Barrett finished fifth in the ACC last season, with 6.1 defensive boards per game, before adding 8.6 total rebounds per contest in the Summer League. Take advantage of the Mississaugan’s unique ability to grab a board and take it down the court himself.
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There’s a reason Barrett was considered a top-three draft pick before he even stepped foot on a college court. R.J. is one of the most NBA-ready athletes this rookie class has to offer, with his speed in the open court one of the major reasons why. If you’re ever going to play with the Knicks in NBA 2K20, use some easy transition buckets to make things easier for yourself.
Despite his athletic advantages, Barrett does not have a knack for getting steals. The 6-foot-7 forward posted just 0.9 steals per game last year for the Blue Devils and a meager 0.6 per contest in the Summer League. Don’t expect him to be a difference maker on that end of the floor.
Free Throw: 67
Like Williamson, R.J. struggles at the free throw line. And while Barrett is adept at finishing close to the rim, he doesn’t have the strength or power of his former teammate to do so every single time. As a wing who will spend more time in the paint than out of it, this is an attribute the Montverde Academy product must improve upon.
Off Dribble Shot Three: 60
A lot of people want to compare Barrett to James Harden, mostly due to their similarities in dominant hand and tendency to attack the basket. But one facet of Harden’s game that RJ simply does not have right now is an off-the-dribble three. You shouldn’t really be shooting many three-pointers with Barrett anyway, so definitely don’t pull the trigger if it’s not off the catch.
Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for NBA 2K20 ratings predictions of Cam Reddish and Marques Bolden. Previous 2K20 predictions include Zion Williamson.