Less than two weeks after making his return from a hip injury, New Zealand Breakers guard RJ Hampton is erring on the side of caution.

The 18-year-old American has again been on the sidelines this week, missing back-to-back practices after aggravating hi hip in Sunday's loss to Brisbane.

"We're just going day by day to see if I'll play," Hampton told the Herald. "I'm working with the trainers so we'll see how it goes.

"It's frustrating but my main thing is getting healthy first; I don't want to be out here if I can't give my team 100 per cent."


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Hampton joined the Breakers from Little Elm High School in Texas this season to prepare for the NBA draft in June and is projected as a top-10 pick. An athletic 196cm guard, Hampton has a well-rounded skill set which has developed nicely through the Breakers' season. He's shown an ability to attack the rim off the dribble and generate power going to the hoop on offence, and has done a good job of getting into passing lanes and applying ball pressure on defence.

However his playing high-pace playing style relies on his mobility, which is significantly hindered by an injured hip.

RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball are among the top prospects for the 2020 NBA Draft. Photo / Photosport
RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball are among the top prospects for the 2020 NBA Draft. Photo / Photosport

The Breakers will want their young star at full strength, or near enough to it, when they meet the Sydney Kings in New Plymouth on Friday night, in the first match between the teams since they played back-to-back games in October.

The Kings, who sit atop the NBL standings, won both matches earlier in the season. It was a baptism by fire for Hampton, who found himself immediately taking on veteran NBA centre Andrew Bogut in the paint.

Hampton said he had learnt a lot since those early encounters, and was hoping he would have the chance to show his progress.

"I'm going to see how the rest of this week finishes out and we'll see when we get there," Hampton said.

"Going up against (Bogut) is great. I think I've gotten smarter, faster and strong since we played them in the first games; it's been a long time."