RJ Hampton has had time to reflect.
At the tender age of 18, the young guard made the decision to forgo college and instead join the New Zealand Breakers to prepare for the 2020 NBA draft.
Joining the Breakers as a five-star recruit and a consensus top-15 pick in the draft, there was plenty of excitement both on his end and from basketball fans around the world to see him in action at the professional level.
At times, Hampton showed his clear potential as an athletic playmaker. However, it wasn't all Hampton thought it would be.
Speaking to the Herald, Hampton - now a member of the Orlando Magic in his second season in the NBA – admits the experience was a learning curve.
"I think the decision was good to go over to New Zealand to experience a different culture at such a young age and experience the business side of things," Hampton says.
"Obviously, there was some things that I didn't like, but I also liked things as well. All in all, it was a pretty good experience being over there and learning about everything I needed to learn about."
Hampton was one of two big-name recruits to the NBL's Next Stars programme in 2019, alongside point guard LaMelo Ball, who played for the Illawarra Hawks.
While Ball was put into a high-usage role that saw him average over 30 minutes and 17 shot attempts per game, Hampton's situation was vastly different.
With the Breakers, Hampton was used as a role player, seeing about 20 minutes per game – often off the bench. While he showed his capabilities on court, his in-game development was limited.
"I definitely didn't know that that was their plan coming into playing with the Breakers," Hampton said.
"LaMelo and his team with the Hawks, getting 40 minutes a game and letting him have free reign of things; the Breakers were trying to win games. With that organisation, there's a lot of teammates I still talk to, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to play for the Breakers and for them giving me a chance, but there are definitely things that I think were hindering my development while I was there.
"I definitely would have rather played 40 minutes a game and played through mistakes. I'm not saying do whatever I want; I still want to win games, but playing through mistakes and seeing where that goes. Sometimes that stuff didn't happen and I think that played a major part in my draft stock and how that stuff went forward. I think it was good for me though, learning adversity, learning how businesses work and learning you can only control what you can control."
Hampton left the Breakers after 15 games, heading back to the States early in order to prepare for the draft workouts and allow a niggling hip injury to heal.
During his stint with the Breakers, Hampton saw his draft stock go from being projected as high as a top five pick to a mid-first-round option. He was eventually selected late in the first round at No 24 by the Milwaukee Bucks, who traded his draft rights to the Denver Nuggets. In comparison, Ball - also a projected top five pick, was selected at No 3 by the Charlotte Hornets.
With Denver, Hampton was again used sparingly – averaging just nine minutes per game in 26 appearances before being traded to the Orlando Magic.
In Orlando, the now 20-year-old Hampton has flourished. A team in the process of rebuilding around their young talent, Hampton has established himself as a key part of that rebuild. In May of last year, Hampton was named the NBA's Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month on the back of a slew of impressive performances at the end of the season.
Hampton says while the decision to join the Breakers didn't necessarily help his draft stock, it taught him valuable lessons about being a professional and how the business works. He is one of the three youngest players in the Orlando squad, alongside 20-year-old rookies Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, but his adventure in New Zealand saw him gain experience well beyond his years.
"My teammates always joke about it, saying I was a professional at 17 or a millionaire at 17, 18 years old. That was really just my path and the path that I took," Hampton says.
"To be a pro at such a young age, I'm very blessed that I got to do that; I'll be blessed forever. That'll never change that I was an 18-year-old pro in a different country. It sounds cool, now that I think about it, that I got to go over there and experience that time. I wouldn't say I feel like a vet, but I definitely feel experienced enough to know about the pro game and to know about professional life.
"Those are things I don't know if college would have taught me right away and I think that's a test of how I've been able to handle adversity since I've been in the league. Being with Denver, getting traded, coming into Orlando, playing a lot and being a piece of this team, without the adversity I faced in New Zealand, I don't know how I would have handled my situation in Denver necessarily.
"If I knew the things that I know now, do I make the same decision? Yes, I do, I still make the same decision. But I'm a lot more aware and cautious of how I handle certain things."