Nuggets' Jamal Murray: RJ Barrett 'More Complete' Player Than Zion Williamson

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29:  RJ Barrett #5 andZion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils addresses the media after the East Regional game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Capital One Arena on March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Patriotism may be coloring Jamal Murray's judgment when it comes to his evaluation of the 2019 NBA draft class. 

In an interview with The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears, the Denver Nuggets star appeared to make the case fellow Canadian RJ Barrett will turn out to be a better pro than Zion Williamson.

"Zion has definitely overshadowed RJ because of the hype," Murray said. "But I think RJ is more of a complete player in terms of what you are looking for. Zion is going to sell tickets. But if it was up to me, I would still take RJ."

Barrett concurred with Murray's assessment: "For sure. I worked my butt off, so definitely."

Murray is certainly in the minority with his opinion.

Williamson got more press than his Duke teammate and for good reason. The 6'7", 285-pound forward delivered at least one eye-popping dunk or authoritative block in seemingly every one of the Blue Devils' games.

Beyond the flash, though, Williamson averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds and showed himself to be an excellent defender both in the paint and away from the basket. His shooting could use some work (33.8 percent from three-point range), but he was better from the perimeter than Barrett (30.8 percent).

Murray's evaluation may not do justice to how well Williamson played in 2018-19.

Likewise, the Nuggets guard might be overly optimistic about the player Barrett can become in the NBA. 

The Blue Devils swingman averaged 22.6 points but finished with a .532 true shooting percentage and .506 effective field-goal percentage, per Sports Reference, neither of which is otherworldly. He also turned the ball over 3.7 times per game.

CBSSports.com's Kyle Boone compared Barrett to a "more engaged version" of Minnesota Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins.

Even if he doesn't reach his full potential, though, Barrett has a fairly high floor relative to his fellow 2019 prospects and should have a long NBA career ahead.

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