Entering just his third season in the NBA, RJ Hampton is already considered a “veteran” with this young Orlando Magic roster.
But that’s because he is one of few throughout the locker room to play in over a 100 NBA games.
However, Hampton is not taking that experience lightly, and is ready to compete with his teammates in the Las Vegas Summer League this week.
“There’s a lot of summer to play basketball and why not play with the Magic organization and get better?” Hampton said to the media on Sunday. “I only got to play one Summer League, my first year there wasn’t a Summer League, so this is my second. I just turned 21 a couple months ago so I think it’s a great opportunity to compete.”
The third-year pro was taken 24th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, and played 25 games for the Denver Nuggets before being traded to Orlando with Gary Harris as a part of the Aaron Gordan deal in February 2021.
Through 115 games over two seasons in the NBA, Hampton averages 7.3 points per game to go along with 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
While most third-year guys decide to opt out of Summer League and spend the summer training on their own, Hampton spoke with head coach Jamahl Mosley on his decision to play this year.
“We talk about the competitive edge that we want to continue to have, we talk about the joy for the game,” Mosley said to the media on Sunday. “The ability for RJ to not play major minutes throughout the year but then say ‘I wanna come play Summer League’ says a lot about his willingness to compete. He just loves to play basketball and that’s what we continue to ask from our guys to want and be able to do.”
With the opportunity to play a big role in the Magic backcourt this season alongside Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz, the 21-year-old is not going to hold back throughout this offseason.
“I’m taking this Summer League all out,” Hampton said Sunday. “I came out here to compete with the guys so whatever the team needs me to do, however many games they need me to play, that’s what I’m going to do.”