Beyond the Lottery: Will Barton

On March 22nd, University of Memphis sophomore Will Barton declared himself eligible for the 2012 NBA Draft. The wiry Baltimore product improved his numbers drastically across the board in his second collegiate season, averaging 18.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg and 3.0 apg.

The 6’6” SG/SF can score from anywhere on the court and knows when to shoot and when to dish. This offensive balance makes it tough to stop Barton, who shot more than 50% from the field and posted season highs of 30 points, 16 boards, 7 dimes, 4 blocks and 4 steals (3X) in 2011-12.

Barton’s soft touch matched with a quick catch-and-shoot make for a lethal combo. He also excels at slashing and cutting to the basket and finishes with an array of floaters, often finding kind rolls and bounces due to his feathery release. The most potent weapon in his scoring arsenal is his mid-range shot off the dribble, a skill that should translate well at the NBA level.

On the defensive end, the versatile 21-year-old can guard the opposing PG, SG and SF. Barton moves well laterally and disrupts the passing lanes with his length and anticipation. He averaged almost one block per game and 1.4 steals per game. Barton’s rebounding prowess allows him to start fast breaks, and with his open floor dribbling ability he often goes coast to coast.

Barton’s main weakness is his thin, 175-pound frame. At the pro level, core strength is important in all aspects of the game, which may scare some GM’s from taking a chance on Barton. He is projected to be selected late in the first round on June 28th in Newark.