A Heralded recruit two years ago, Barton possesses a lot of pizzazz to go along with great athleticism at the shooting guard position. While a good talent, can he use his talent effectively in the NBA?
As a shooting guard, Barton tests off the charts compared to other prospects and current guards in the NBA. He is very rangy and fast with great lateral quickness and a great vertical. With a long wing-span, he should be able to guard 1’s and 2’s effectively.
Outside of height, Barton is rail thin and will be punished off of screens due to this. Opposing guards will be able to use their body to shield him off and then finish. On defense, guards are going to body him up and use little veteran tactics to push him off his point of attack such as forearm shivers to lower mid-point of stomach that are difficult to see.
There are no real off-the-court issues with Barton known of.
Basketball IQ and want it factor
While much improved with his passing, Barton still shows concerns in terms of making winning basketball plays. He still seems to play as a pure scorer with a street type flair. He did improve on his shot selection not settling for jumpers as frequently and attacking the rim more.
As for will to win, in terms of hustle, Barton plays aggressively. He has improved in terms of setting up teammates. However, he still has those “What was he thinking?” moments. He appears to have solid court vision while sometimes appearing to gun for his own stats.
Skill-wise, Barton offers a lot in terms of a raw, but unique talent. He can create shots with dribble penetration using a mid-range pull up jumper, dishes to teammates, or finishing at the rim. While not a great shooter, he is solid at 35% from three point line. Barton’s biggest threat is his handles combined with his quick first step. His decision making improved in terms of him not shooting so many jumpers, but using his ability to attack this past year.
Stating all this, Barton still shows many areas of concern. While having a great first step, he is easy to bump at the next level. Will he be able to sustain that bump and finish; especially at the rim? Also, while having great handles, he is very weak using his left hand.
While he's great at creating shots, he shoots some very ill-advised shots at inopportune times. While his 3 point shot improved this past year, he's best when set and still only a pedestrian shooter. This will need to be improved, especially with a further NBA three point line. Barton’s biggest weakness is understanding when to make the right move within the half court. He needs to improve his decision making.
Defensively, Barton gets after it pretty well. He has great length to shield opposing shooting guards away from their comfort spots. He averaged a solid 1.4 steals per game and has great lateral quickness and burst for block attempts. He was above average in terms of understanding where to shade his opponent.
He'll need to improve his strength to fight through screens and may struggle to defend physical guards who will have too much bulk on him.
To me, Barton reminds me a lot of Jamal Crawford in terms of ball-handling, body-style, getting shots of from mid-range at any time, etc… Barton is more athletic in terms of vertical and is a better defender.
The problem with Barton compared to Crawford is that he is not nearly as good of a shooter and that is how teams live with having Crawford on their teams. When hot, Crawford can carry a team for spurts within the game. Does Barton have enough to overcome his streaky shot and curious decision-making?
One-thing that needs to be monitored is how he carries himself in interviews/workouts. Memphis had a lot of talent, but they are not really a well-organized team in terms of communicating, playing a street-ball style on offense. He'll need to prove he's capable of playing in a more structured environment.
How does he fit with the Bulls?
As mentioned in the past, the Bulls need athletes and Barton fills that need. He improved his decision making this year and fills the need of a shot creator at shooting guard with good defensive potential. The concerns over his rawness, shooting ability, and decision making are the primary negatives. In my opinion, teams lacking talent should take risks while championship teams should take players that fit into their model.
I would rather draft someone other than Barton. I think Barton can be a good player and is one of the better under-rated/raw talents out there, but I don’t think he is quite there yet in terms of making winning plays at all times. The Bulls aren't in position to develop him as he needs to be developed in order to pan out. I don’t mind taking risks in some drafts, but this draft is very deep and Chicago should get an immediate contributor with their selection. Also, while I don’t mind taking risks, I prefer taking them on players that know how to play winning basketball but have other deficiencies (For example needing to add strength).