NBA Draft 2020: RJ Hampton Buzz, Warriors' Rumored Onyeka Okongwu Interest

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2020

RJ Hampton
RJ HamptonRick Rycroft/Associated Press

While fans are waiting for answers on the 2020 NBA draft process, prospects and teams are busy preparing for the eventual day it arrives.

RJ Hampton is one of the more unique prospects in the class. Instead of attending a traditional four-year collegewhich, in his case, would have been Kansasthe American guard instead headed overseas for a year of pro basketball.

Hampton appeared in 15 games for the New Zealand Breakers, averaging 8.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists. However, a hip injury shortened his season in February. He returned to the United States in order to get healthy for the 2020 draft.

But as both college basketball and the NBA entered a stoppage, yet another unique opportunity arose for Hampton.

According to John Martin of The Athletic, Memphis coach Penny Hardawaya four-time NBA All-Starextended an invitation to train Hampton leading up to the draft.

"He told us he wanted to extend his knowledge and give back to RJ, because he thinks RJ is special," Hampton's father Rod said. "He told us if RJ comes up here, you're gonna see what I do with him. When that phone rings, it's like Obama calling. You pick that up. How may I help you, sir? I'm reporting for duty."

Martin notes Hardaway is putting Hampton through two-a-day workouts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday each week.

Hampton is mostly considered a mid-first-round prospect right now; B/R's Jonathan Wasserman lists him as the No. 16 overall prospect, for example. The upcoming months are critical in reshaping that perception and helping Hampton rise on draft boards.

Working with a respected coach in Hardaway could pay dividends for Hampton both as a player and for his draft stock.

Onyeka Okongwu, conversely, can hardly rise any higher.

As a freshman at USC, the forward/center amassed 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. Okongwu has soared from an unexpected one-and-done to a potential top-five selectionespecially for the Golden State Warriors, apparently.

"Believe it or not, the Warriors are actually higher on Southern Cal's Okongwu than [Memphis center] James Wiseman," Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Okongwu is highly valued because of his defensive ability and versatility. Though not an all-around offensive threat, he's a dangerous rim-runner and occasional post-up option.

Letourneau noted Golden State will "definitely consider" Okongwu at Nos. 4 or 5 in the first round. While the Warriors have the NBA's worst record and could pick anywhere between 1-5, they have a 47.9 percent chance of selecting fifth, per Tankathon.

Hoping for a little bit of luck in the lottery is reasonable, but preparing for a "worst-case scenario" is necessary too.

Yet landing a player like Okongwu is nowhere close to a worst-case result.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.