Chicago Bulls: RJ Hampton has modeled his game after Zach LaVine

RJ Hampton (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
RJ Hampton (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls are in an interesting spot with their first round pick heading into the night of the 2020 NBA Draft. Could a trade be looming?

If recently hired executive vice president of basketball operations (and former Denver Nuggets general manager) Arturas Karnisovas and the Chicago Bulls do wind up trading down in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft, then they have a plethora of options to look into maybe later in the lottery. The Bulls do have needs to build up this rotation all over the place, and there doesn’t look to be any clear answer for where they should use their fourth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery.

The Bulls lucked out a good bit in the first place, jumping up three spots in the odds order, to land the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft. They finished up with a record of 22-43 during the shortened 2019-20 regular season under the direction of former head coach Jim Boylen, prior to the pause, good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Moreover, if the Bulls did trade down one potential prospect to watch is the 19-year-old 6-foot-5 and 185 pound combo guard and former five-star recruit RJ Hampton. A projected late lottery pick (or maybe falling into the mid-to-late teens), Hampton would provide a nice depth and playmaking boost off the bench initially in the backcourt rotation.

Hampton played one season overseas prior to declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft. He played with the New Zealand Breakers in the NBL. In 15 games played with the Breakers in the NBL, Hampton averaged 8.8 points per game, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.3 blocks. And he shot 40.7 percent from the field, 29.5 percent from beyond the arc, and 67.9 percent from the free-throw line.

And something that could appeal to the Bulls in regard to Hampton’s draft profile is something he said about their rising star shooting guard Zach LaVine. In an interview with Hoops Hype this week, Hampton talked about how he has recently modeled his game after LaVine. Here’s more on what Hampton had to say on the subject of modeling his game after LaVine.

"I think the person I’ve watched the most probably over the past two or three years would be Zach LaVine because I think we’re both 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6 guards that are athletic, can get downhill, can create for our teammates, and we’re fast. That’s definitely somebody that I kind of try to model my game after now. Then, long-term, I’d say, maybe not long-term, but one of my favorite players is Derrick Rose. If I could be like him one day that would be worth my while."

It is also interesting that Hampton notes that there are aspects of his game that he tried to model around the former Bulls MVP winning superstar point guard Derrick Rose too. There seems to be a lot of appeal from Hampton in some of the better Bulls guards of the last dozen years or so. LaVine and Rose both had a lot of shake and raw athleticism to their game on both ends of the floor.

If Hampton can continue to model his game after the likes of LaVine, and even D-Rose, then that could add some appeal to the front office in the Windy City giving him a second look if they decide to trade down in this draft. Getting Hampton to learn from a player he’s recently watched a lot in LaVine could be a good brewing situation.

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The 2020 NBA Draft is set to take place on the night of Nov. 18, and free agency could be looming shortly thereafter. The Bulls hold the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2020 draft, and the Memphis Grizzlies 44th overall pick in the second round.

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