Draft profiles: Will barton, 6'6, 180 lbs, SG, Memphis, Sophomore

Draft profiles: Will barton, 6'6, 180 lbs, SG, Memphis, Sophomore

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?

Athletic Ability

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.

Off-Court Issues

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).


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  • I think I agree with what you say about him, could be good but not with the Bulls. I wouldn't be upset if they did draft him,but I think they could do better.
    How would Kendall Marshal fit with the Bulls? I know he is not the style of PG that the team has had over the last two years, but I think the big problem that they had in the playoffs was that they couldn't run the offense and I think he could help. Is it good or bad to have two different style pg on a team? Could a deal be swung with Houston or someone in the 15-20 range?

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I think you could swing a deal to possibly swing up to get Marshall, but I don't know if the assets it would take would be worth it. Fournier is crafty but did not show well in Euro Trainings.

    I think Barton can be a game changer, but he is so raw - some of it really had to do with where he played.

  • Has anyone seen Evan Fournier play? He seems very talented from what I've read. Sounds like he could play 1-3 if needed.

  • At 6'5" in socks, Barton is the tallest, longest SG prospect that is likely to be available at 29, although, I've been reading that he is one of the guys from the second round that is rising. All the other prospects that we've looked are between 6'2" and 6'4".

    I like the fact that even as a skinny guy, he pulled down 8 boards a game, which is a huge number for the college game. Rebounding is usually(bozo being the exception) an effort stat, and I love effort players. Even though you cannot measure it, effort is definitely a skill, likely responsible for at least 50% of what one achieves in life.

    My top 2-4 choices at 29 are Tony Wroten, if he falls, or Barton if we go for a wing player, and Miles Plumlee or Kyle O'quinn if we go for a bigman.

    Obviously, given my limited resources, it is mostly a gut feeling, but this low in the draft, I prefer to take some chances on guys with superior size and/or athleticism.

    O'quinn, while not the tallest guy 6'8.5" in socks(still taller than both Taj and boozer) was the longest player at the combine with a 7'4.75" wingspan, and a 9'3.5" standing reach, longer than any of the so called 7 footers. Plumlee at 6'10.5" in socks came up 4-5 inches "shorter" than O'Quinn.

    It is hard to ignore the Bulls need for wing scoring, but if Wroten doesn't fall, I'd go for one of the big guys. Obviously, I am hoping that we trade Deng to move into the lottery to solve the guard/wing scorer problem.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    O'Quinn possesses nice size and all, but is not nearly as athletic as Taj. He would not be bad in 2nd round for a chance.

    I understand your concerns and I want some athleticism, but I also think with the way our team is structured, we need players that are not so raw. Cunningham provides the athleticism that is not raw to me.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    I'll defer to your expertise on the athleticism question, although O'quinn looks like a bigger more powerfully built guy than Taj, as is Plumlee.

    Who do you think brings the most althleticism at the 2, Cunningham, Orlando Johnson, Doron Lamb, or Barton, .

    Cunningham, Johnson and Lamb are all under 6'4 in shoes. Not saying that height and length are everything, but all else being equal, size does matter in the NBA as we always notice it when it is lacking.

    Also, what about the undersized small forward types, who will need to move down to shooting guard in the NBA, like Jay Crowder at 6'4.75, a fraction shorter than Barton, and the exact same as Wroten.

    Actually, I think MKG (a certain top 6 pick) is in that boat also, as he came in at 6'5.75, meaning that he is likely an NBA shooting guard, who right now can't shoot all that well.

    I am all for buying or trading for more late first or early second picks to load up on a couple of these guys. OKC rumored to be looking to get rid of their pick at 28. GS is looking to move 2 of their 4 picks, including #30. Cleveland also has 4 picks, including 24, and 33 & 34 I believe.

    With the Rose injury, I look at this year as a retooling & reloading year, giving us at least one year to work/wait on some raw talent. If we were completely healthy and had lost in the ECF again or even made it to the finals, I could see the argument for the taking the most immediately ready player, but that may not be the case until the 2014 draft.

  • A thought while watching the finals, how much better than Taj(if any) is Obaka. Not saying that OKC would even consider trading one for the other, but as a Bulls fan, would you. While it seems like a brainer at first blush, the more that I watch the finals, the more that I think the answer to that question might well be no.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Taj is one of the better defenders in the league, his shot blocking is elite and he gives great effort with an improving offense...hopefully that midrange shot becomes more consistent. There's rumors that alot of teams want Taj in trades and I hope the Bulls don't do it since if they send him and Deng out, we will be sending our two best defenders out. I would like to see the Bulls resign Taj and think he would be a nice combo with Mirotic but reiny is cheap so I dont see him using the amnesty next year in order to resign taj. I think we can still pick up a nice combo guard like Cunningham who measured 6'5" in shoes and can play backup point guard. Don't know if Doron Lamb or Jenkins will still be on the big board when we pick at 29. The way the salary cap is so punitive, you need bench players that can play multiple positions well. The days of paying people like korver the mle to play 15 minutes and make a few threes are behind us.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I've been pushing this idea for a while. I think Taj is so much more talented than he has been able to show. Ibaka is the better shot blocker right now, but I think Taj is better on offense, rebounding, man-to-man defense. I really think it is time for him to shine. Forman did say something about playing him more next year, don't know what that means for Boozer.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Ibaka is a better shot blocker, much more built, has a much better mid-range game, and 4 years younger.

    Taj is under-rated, is better in the post (but does not utilize it enough), and can guard out in the perimeter a lot better!

  • What would it take to get the two picks (6-11) from Portland? Deng and the Charlotte pick? If they had Deng they wouldn't need to keep Batum and could aford more on a PG like Nash. Nash, Matthews, Deng, Aldridge, and maybe Kaman would look good for them. Lillard and Jeremy Lamb or Ross would look great for the Bulls.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Just to follow up on that. You know how some people have said that teams should sign Iverson and have him score off the bench? I think that is what Lillard could do. In a way, I think he is what John Lucas wishes he could be, a guy who comes in and just starts poring in the points. I really see a lot of Westbrook in him too. I like the idea of getting Jeremy Lamb to play with Hamilton. The Uconn connection should be strong and they are the same body type with a lot of the same skills. Lamb could really learn a lot from Rip. I really love the kids ceiling and am not worried to much about his sleepy attitude. If he was going to be THE guy like he would be for a Bobcats team or for Toronto, then I'd be worried. For the Bulls he would be the second or third option, so I can put up with that. I like the upside to Ross, while not a playmaker, if Lamb isn't available. If the Bulls move up, those are the guys I'm hoping they target.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I like Lamb a lot and feel he will be a good player.

    Lillard I expect to be a George Hill type player with a little better knack for scoring.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Kevin, even though I feel like drafting Lamb is a big risk, I do agree talent wise he has maybe the most potential to be a star coming out of this draft. Even though he's on my won't draft list due to unreliability issues(he admits as much himself while yawning through draft interviews), I have to say I'd still be excited if we somehow got our hands on him. Though it would be another risk IMO.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I don't know if Deng could get both and I wouldn't deal the Charlotte pick too. Maybe Deng and #29 would be how far I would go, but I don't know if Portland jumps for that.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Deng and the charlotte pick is way too much. We need to move Deng and recieve 2 assets back. Deng was the 7th pick in his draft, is an established veteran in the middle of his prime.

    You ought to be able to get at least what he was drafted for, if not some type of premium. Otherwise, the guy has to be looked at as somewhat of a bust.

    The bulls have always overated him, as have our fans, yet whenever it comes time to trade him everybody feels that the Bulls need to add assests to move him, those 2 stances don't add up.

  • Pro As In "Professional"

    Thanks for the review(s) Kevin. I watched Will Barton play many times as he was projected second round for a long time due to his dissapointing freshman season. While Will Barton has a world of talent IMO, I would not reccomend drafting him.

    Regarding ability, he has an unconventional first step that leaves people in the dust. Anyone as a sophomore who shoots 50% from the floor on 18ppg, and is not a low post bulldozer ala Sean May, Richard Hendrix(Alabama) is in an elite category on the collegiate level. Of course he's as skinny as a beanpole. But that's not the reason I would reject the notion of drafting him. The reason being in my view he's a bit of a goof. His demeanor is that of a somewhat immature, unreliable person IMO who I have watched over five games.

    Beyond the potential Pro prospect in Will Barton, he is a classic illustration of a point I feel is an important one. In any professional work setting where performance is a necessity, attitude or maybe more accurately Reliability matters

    I think it's fair to say a lot of people just don't have the time or inclination to watch a lot of these guys(prospects) play, and certainly not with a concerted effort or multiple times/games. However, a lot of people do spend time learning the intricacies of a particular hobby. And, it just so happens that appraising draft talent is my hobby. I've always enjoyed assembling talent, rosters etc. Maybe it started with seeing the Dream Team I don't know.

    Anyway, one thing I have missed on hugely at times, as we all have, including unfortunately the Bulls, is reliability and attitude. Case in point: James Johnson. I know Doug interviewed him, and likes him, but I am not alone in the view that he is somewhat immature as in unpredictable, inconsistent etc. etc. All you need to do is look at his game, and you'll find the answer to that question.

    Personally, so many players are presented as though they will be NBA successes when we know that in reality most guys will be fairly limited or out of the league in short order. The NBA is a very elite club of basketball Professionals - as in consistent, reliable. Aside from over projecting on ability(myself included), we just don't know or want to waste time talking about a player's character. In almost every conversation or opinion you hear, 99% pertains to ability not consistency or attitude/character.

    Check out the following proviso on James Johnson as noted by invaluable IMO scouting site NBADraft.Net(also DraftExpress is excellent ). James "has battled inconsistency throughout his career. Does not show up to play every night, and has stretches where he dissapears completely. His shooting numbers have improved, but he is still a very streaky and somewhat inconsistent shooter. He takes a lot of bad shots out of the offense."

    If that doesn't encapsulate who James Johnson is as an NBA player I don't know what does. He's a stat stuffer with a gret deal of talent. And he's also mentally a liability as in he hurts your team as much as he helps. Here's Tyrus Thomas also from NBADraft "He's so talented he gets away with not hustling or working hard."

    "Note to self: Lazy players, mentally lazy players, uh not a good idea drafting one." Just dead on epitaphs of any thought of these guys as successful professionalis. In the end, there's just no room for goofballs like James Johnson and Tyrus Thomas on a professional, respected ball club. It's no coincidence who picked these guys up either, the Toronto Raptors and the Charlotte Bobcats two unprofessional, perenniallly losing franchises.

    As we discuss this year's draft pool, myself I have watched some of these guys quite a bit. Yet many other I just didn't have the time for obvious reasons, job, family, it's a hobby not my life. That's why I feel like somewhat of a fraud passing judgement on some of these guys. And in the end, we have no say in who the Bulls do draft wherever and whoever that may be.

    But you still want to check things out, and have a say. Dreaming of drafting players who will change your franchise as elite scorers or at minimum good players is a hard temptation to resist. No? However, you didn't see most of these guys much if at all. So you take the plunge, and resort too.. Highlight videos. There, I said it You've just been sneared at by every paid professional in the NBA whose job it is is to find franchise altering or at least helping players.

    Yes, highlight reels, college stat lines, and and scouting reports from mock draft sites like Express and NBANet. And they are damn good resources IMO. Stats and scouting reports more so.

    Bottom line: Allen Iverson was a walking attitude problem from a troubled background. Yet he was reliable as a professional and a prolific scorer or "star" to basically work within a framework and bring intensity and agression on a nightly basis. You can't just read damning assessments of a player, and write them off. It takes time dissecting reports and the strengths and weaknesses of staffs/sites in general. Same as it takes time understanding stats and anomalies. However, when you see blatant, blanket warnings which are not thrown out carelessly, you take note of them.

    Here is my list of this year's, "God they are so talented I'm drooling, but I won't draft this guy becuae he will let me down" Finalists: Jeremy Lamb, Meyers Leonard, Andre Drummond(think Kwame Brown), Terrence Jones, Perry Jones, Quincy, Miller, Festus Ezeli.

    OK, hold on, and let me say something I am NOT judging these players as people. Nor is everyone on this list an "attitude" problem. Many just appear too unreliable or inconsistent in performance or ability to perform on a consistent level as a Professional. And the point really is not who is on my list. The point is simply you might want to consider Professionalism(as in attitude and consistency) as a factor when choosing "your guy(s)" Or risk drafting the next Tyrus Thomas. Though maybe not as big of an ass, but just someone who will fail because they are unreliable.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Note: I know this one was too long for many, if so, then please for the love of god don't read it, and then complain to me about the length. Though I do apologize as it is long/takes a few minutes to read. I have spent time on drafting as an interest, and felt I had something to say. Let's admit, some of us as die hard Bulls fans, are definitely amped and intensely interested about who the Bulls get.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I agree with your mentaly lazy comment and I think that is a great way to put it. There are so many players that are super talented but don't make it because they don't have the mental make up to do the little things. Have to ask though, do you take the more talented guy who is risky over the less talented guy who works harder if he is not the number one guy? For example, I think Rudy Gay is more talented than Luol Deng, but I would not want Gay as the leader, go-to-guy, of my team. If Gay is my second option, I'm happy. That's how I feel about Lamb right now, that he could have success with the Bulls because he's not going to have that pressure.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Your right, that was ridiculously long, even for you. Never the less, I have to agree with you that Barton has some flakiness baked into him. Everytime that I have heard an interview with him, I cringe a little, he kind of reminds me of Ron Artest at least whe n interviewed.

    Without being able to meet the guy in person, he is still my choice among the shooting guards at 29. I think he has the best potential to be a legitimate starter in the NBA, has the most offensive upside and he is the tallest, longest candidate. Plus he has one year to adjust to the NBA while learning from Rip.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I agree with a lot of what you say, but not Meyers Leonard, Jeremy Lamb, or Festus Ezeli. Meyers plays hard, but was in a frustrating situation and let his emotions get to him - he actually has a solid understanding. Jeremy Lamb needs to work on getting some attitude but has a very high IQ of the game and is cold-blooded, and I really don't see much in terms of what is wrong with Festus - he plays hard to me and is a 2nd round value. The other three have some more attitude issues.

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    Beauty so to speak is in the eye of the beholder. No one is necessarily "right." You know? We have our opinions, hunches, feelings etc. I know you like Leonard. I like Nicholson a lot. But I have to try and keep my emtions out of it. Which with some guys let's face it is impossible to divorce ourselves completely..

    If the Bulls drafted Leonard I'd likely be excited and pleased they made such a move. Though I would be concerned about him being a consistent, focused pro. I could make similar criticisms of my guy Nicholson who has dissapered at times. Plus he's(Nicholson) too thin currently to utilize his low post repertoire.

    Leaonard as athletic as he is and raw yet burgeoning skills in my book with a solid jump shot as a legit big aka 7 footer has to excite you. And Jeremy Lamb, while I really have a problem with his attitude and the way he comports himself on a daily basis, he showed something in his production and in last year's tournament. If the Bulls acquired him I'd be extremely excited. Poor man's Scottie Pippen? I know - rreeaccchinnngg. ha, ha.

  • Like anything else there are degrees of questionable consistency, attitude etc. I think a lot of people give Lamb the thunbs up because of what he did in the tournament as a winner, and his overall production/numbers this year are hard to argue with. I'm sticking to my statement/list(for now ha, ha.) Seriously most of the guys on that list I am firm on, but Lamb I might be persuaded. His talent suggests he could be a quality starter if not star for years to come.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I think Lamb can be a good 2nd option type scorer if he maxes out. I think he will play though and be a good player. His mannerisms leave much to be desired, but he is even keel too!

  • Nice write up. Too often we get enamored with measurables and forget about the mental aspect (professional). We kind of take it for granted with how good our culture is on the bulls but its not something we should forget during the draft where people live on optimism more than realism (youtube videos).

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