RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Will BartonPosted by nvr1983 on May 24th, 2012
The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New York City. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.
Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.
Player Name: Will Barton
Height/Weight: 6’6” / 175 lbs.
NBA Position: Shooting Guard
Projected Draft Range: Early Second Round
Overview: Although his Memphis Tigers were very much an up-and-down team during his two years playing for Josh Pastner, Barton made tremendous individual strides during his time there. The Tigers earned bids to two NCAA Tournaments, but many would claim that Memphis underachieved especially when analyzing their high preseason ranking both years. As for Barton though, he certainly pulled his weight as a sophomore elevating himself to one of the premier shooting guards in the country. As a freshman, there was little doubt of Barton’s sheer ability and natural talent, but he struggled with his decision making on the offensive end. He settled for contested shots rather than creating his own off the dribble—being able to create your own shot is an absolute must at the next level—and his shooting percentage was an unimpressive 43% (26.5% from three) as a result. More disconcerting was averaging just a shade over two free throw attempts per game. Over the summer months, however, Barton became a much more polished player on the offensive end, and it showed. Using his quick first step to penetrate the line, Barton’s shooting percentage and three-point percentage rose by nearly 10 percent, and he was getting to the line much more frequently (over five attempts per game). His fluidity and smooth game on offense is a joy to watch—some would call him “slippery” with the ball as he has a knack to get to the basket—and his basketball IQ has really grown since his days at Brewster Academy. While Barton won’t be a lottery pick like his fellow Brewster alum Thomas Robinson will be, he does have an outside shot to be a first rounder assuming he performs well in workouts leading up to the NBA Draft.
Will Translate to the NBA: There certainly is no shortage of 6’4” – 6’6” shooting guards and small forwards in the NBA, and Barton will have to continue to develop in order to break his way into this competitive position. With the progress he made from his freshman to sophomore year at Memphis, it is not unreasonable to think that Barton continues to trend upward. He is a natural scorer, and there will always be room in the NBA for guys like this. Although he doesn’t have the bulk—yet—his 6’6” frame and long wingspan will play to Barton’s benefit as a shooting guard.
Needs Work: Barton must live in the weight room and make frequent visits to GNC and the refrigerator over the summer in order to put on size. His lack of strength and bulk definitely is a cause for concern for NBA GMs yet part of the reason Barton is so effective is due to his slender frame. No sense in putting on size like Steve Lattimer from “The Program” did, but become a stronger player is a must. While Barton became a more proficient player around the basket this past season, he seems to shy away from contact. As Barton currently stands, he would struggle to make it through an 82-game season.
Comparison Players: Draws a striking resemblance to Houston Rockets’ shooting guard Kevin Martin. Both are tall and slender shooting guards who have smooth offensive games and are able to create their own shots yet do most of their scoring from outside of the paint. It was not until year three of Martin’s NBA career that he became one of the most prolific scorers in the league, and Barton has the potential to follow this same path if he continues to develop his game at the pace he is currently at.
Best Case Scenario: Barton finds a niche coming off the bench and providing an instant source of offense. Not known as a shutdown defensive player, Barton is going to earn his paychecks scoring the basketball. Still, it is imperative Barton becomes a stronger and more physical player if he is to have long-term success.
Best NBA Fit: The Los Angeles Clippers probably have two of the best bookends in the NBA with Chris Paul running the show and Blake Griffin at power forward, but the Clippers lack a true scorer to fill a void at shooting guard. Currently, Randy Foye mans the position, but there are doubts whether he is the long-term answer. Barton would flourish in the Clippers’ up-tempo style and play well off of Paul. However, with the 53rd pick in the Draft it is unlikely that Barton would fall that far. If Barton is to considerably raise his stock, the Chicago Bulls are an intriguing team to select him with the 29th pick as they need help at the shooting guard position as well.
Scout’s Take (from NBADraft.net): “Scouts aren’t sure what to make of Barton. He’s a talent but the best thing he does is rebound. He’s got the length and scoring ability, but his frame and skill level make him less than a sure bet.”
*This post was contributed by RTC’s Kevin Doyle. He can be found on Twitter @KLDoyle11.