Now that the North Carolina Tar Heels season has ended in disappointing fashion, it's time to focus on some of those NBA prospects that were on that loaded team. There are several to choose from, but for this article, we're going to focus on shooting forward Harrison Barnes.
Barnes was a sophomore this season, but will make the switch to the next level this season. Let's take a look at what the young man has to offer, what he needs to improve on and where he will likely be drafted.
Position: Small Forward
Size/Weight: 6'8", 210 pounds
School: North Carolina
There aren't too many players in this draft that can keep up with Barnes from a scoring standpoint. The guy's 6'8", but shot 44 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc. He can score anywhere on the court. That includes doing a good job of attacking the basket and getting to the free-throw line, where he made 72 percent last season.
Barnes is also a big guy who has good strength and seems to have an NBA-type body already who won't need to bulk up much once he gets in the league. He doesn't get rattled much, either. He may miss a few shots early on, but won't let it ruin his confidence at all or affect his game. He's also a much better defender than a lot of the guys in this draft.
Another thing I love about Barnes is that he has a great attitude. (Unlike many of the other players I did scouting reports on.) He has a great IQ, is always willing to learn and listen and seems to have a level head.
This may sound like something small, but this alone will make many teams fall in love with him over maybe a more talented player with off the court issues.
Despite his great size, he's not exactly a great athlete. He's also a poor ball handler, as he doesn't have many moves to beat his man one-on-one, isn't effective in transition and his assist numbers are nowhere near where they should be.
One of the main concerns many have with Barnes is that he can't create his own shot. With point guard Kendall Marshall off the floor for the Tar Heels, Barnes often forced off-balanced shots and wasn't effective at all scoring wise. He shot 8-of-30 from the field with Marshall on the sidelines.
If Barnes is that one-dimensional on offense, his stock may take a serious hit.
Player Comparison: Luol Deng
Finding a comparison for Barnes was a bit difficult because I'm not sure he's shown us exactly what he's capable of. This is a player that had the potential to really dominate the college level, but didn't really improve that much from his freshman to sophomore season.
With that said, I think Barnes is a lot like Deng. Both likely won't become superstars in this league, but can be great compliment pieces on a playoff team. They have extremely high IQ, work hard, play great defense and can score their fair share of points. Barnes may be a much better shooter than Deng is, but the overall styles of play are very similar.
Overall, I like Barnes and his upside and believe he can become a solid NBA player. Still not sold on him every becoming a superstar player, but some scouts still have faith, so that's why there's a great chance he'll be taken in the top five.
Regardless, he's a great kid, plays defense and can stroke it from anywhere on the court. He'll end up being a top-10 pick.
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