2012 Draft Profile: Will Barton
Editor’s Note: Throughout the month of June, Timberwolves.com will profile a series of prospects that could be available at Minnesota’s No. 18 pick during the 2012 NBA Draft on June 28. Part eight details Will Barton, a lengthy wing out of Memphis.
PROSPECT: Will Barton
POSITION: Shooting guard
WEIGHT: 175 lbs.
PROJECTION: late 1st round
THE LAST TWO YEARS
Coming out of high school, Barton chose Josh Pastner and Memphis over a long list of scholarship offers, including Kentucky, Arizona, Maryland and Syracuse. While it was clear as a freshman that Barton had a nice midrange jumper and was bubbling with athleticism, scouts were unsettled by his excessive three-point shooting and wild play.
Barton's sophomore year showed tons of growth. He became a much better rebounder while refining his offensive game, becoming much smoother and controlled. Averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds per game for the Tigers, he was named Conference-USA Player of the Year and declared for the draft with first-round expectations. Memphis won their conference and made a March Madness appearance in both of the two years that Barton attended.
Barton simply knows how to score. He uses a combination of perimeter shots along with floaters and midrange jumpers to create a well-rounded offensive threat that can score from anywhere. Utilizing a combination of quick first steps and hesitation moves, he uses his long strides to glide to the hoop. He has ideal height for a shooting guard and is a great rebounder with his long arms. Once he secures a rebound, he can instantly turn it into a fast break and go coast-to-coast. His shot selection improved dramatically, as evident by his 51% field goal percentage last year. Defensively, he's a versatile piece that guarded players at the one, two or three spots in college.
For a player of his height (6'6"), Barton's weight of 175 pounds is concerning. That's stick-thin, and it showed at times at Memphis. Small collisions would send him flying, and it's hard to guess how he would hold up driving an NBA lane. Some skinnier players like Rip Hamilton have done well in the league, but others have struggled and fallen short of their draft status. His three-point shot could also become more consistent, and he can occasionally fall into the bad habits that he developed as a freshman.
WHAT HE CAN BRING TO THE WOLVES
Barton could probably add a shot of scoring to any NBA team, but the question is whether or not his weight will be a liability. He must put on strength in order to guard players like Dwyane Wade or James Harden. If he can add some strength, he may very well be able to play the two or three for the Timberwolves down the road.