Small Forward, 6’8″, 223 lbs.
Sophomore, University of North Carolina
20 years old
Harrison Barnes Highlights
2011-12 Stats: 17.1 PPG (44% FG, 72.3% FT, 35.8% 3FG), 5.2 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 1.9 TOPG
STRENGTHS: Harrison Barnes, as just a sophomore, has great polish to his offensive game. He excels from the perimeter, showing great fundamentals on his shot, whether catching-and-shooting or going off the dribble. In transition, Barnes is a threat because he handles the ball well for his size and also can finish in a variety of ways, pulling up for jumpers or finding the open spot on the floor. Defensively, Barnes’ length and smarts give him a leg-up on the competition. The foundation is there for a strong defensive player. Off the court, Barnes comes off as very professional. His attitude seems to be in the right place. Like Jimmer, he has dealt with being heavily scrutinized and this should help him at the next level. He’s going to work to become the best pro he can be.
WEAKNESSES: People often point to Barnes’ athleticism as his biggest weakness. He is not the most explosive prospect, and it is evident on some of his drives into the lane where he struggles to beat taller, quicker defenders. Additionally, Barnes is not a point forward, showing little passing skill at this point in his development. Rebounding was not a big part of his game at UNC, possibly due to the existence of two fellow 1st-rounders in John Henson and Tyler Zeller. However, Barnes knows how to position himself on the court and showed a willingness to crash the offensive boards.
HOW HE’D FIT WITH THE KINGS: Again, like with MKG, you look at what the Kings want from a small forward. John Salmons, as a ball-dominant player, is not the fit. Barnes, as someone who can create his own shot but excels in the spot-up game, could work with the Kings lineup. Isaiah Thomas is a willing passer who will find the open man, something Barnes would thrive from, just as he did with Kendall Marshall. Barnes would give the team a much-needed second option from the perimeter behind Marcus Thornton, someone who can create his own look when the team needs a bucket. Many things hinge on the future of Tyreke Evans, who I don’t think is best suited for the ’3′ spot. Barnes is a prototypical small forward who could help the team initially as a scorer off the bench until his full game develops. I don’t think you shy away from drafting a small forward like Barnes because of Evans.
APPROVAL: Yes. Even with his polish, I think Barnes has a high ceiling and will improve across the board on both sides of the ball. To me, he’s comparable to Paul Pierce when Pierce was with Kansas — a solid, but not great, athlete who plays the perimeter well and can fill it up. Barnes, like Pierce, does not have the athleticism of someone like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist but he’s smart enough to develop his offensive game, like Pierce has, to make up for the lack of speed. Barnes can score, something the Kings struggle to do even with their current weapons. The athleticism is an obvious concern but not enough to write him off.
WHERE HE GOES: Unless Michael Jordan falls in love with the UNC product at No. 2, Barnes likely tops out at No. 4, where I have him going in our mock and where Sam Amick reports the Cavaliers are enamored with him. If the Kings pass, Golden State at No. 7 could be an option, as would Toronto (8), Detroit (9) and New Orleans (10). Barnes should not fall out of the top 10.