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If Harrison Barnes had decided to enter the 2011 NBA Draft rather than returning to North Carolina for his sophomore season, he likely would have been selected inside the top five.
Instead, Barnes returned to school but failed to show the progression that scouts were expecting to see from him in his second collegiate season. Barnes struggled to create his own shot and has lacked the explosiveness to get to the rim consistently.
Throughout his time at North Carolina, the biggest criticism of Barnes was focused on his defensive abilities. While he is 6'8" with a very long wingspan, there are still questions about whether or not he is ready to guard opposing small forwards in the NBA.
Barnes makes up for his lack of explosiveness with a polished offensive game and consistent jump shot.
The Golden State Warriors drafted Barnes with the seventh section of the 2012 draft, as they hope he has the potential to become an elite scorer.
According to MercuryNews.com, Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson named Barnes as the team's starting small forward over Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush.
Since the focus here is on fantasy basketball, Barnes' potential defensive woes can be discarded because it won't hurt your fantasy team.
The only way that Barnes' defense will hurt fantasy owners is if he is so deficient at the defensive end that he is too much of a liability to play consistent minutes. While I think it will take time for Barnes to develop as a defender, he should be good enough to be passable at the defensive end.
Barnes will be playing alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, as the Warriors will field one of the league's most dangerous backcourts from behind the arc.
With Thompson and Curry spacing the floor and demanding attention, Barnes will have no shortage of open looks at the basket.
If you're still worried about Barnes' defense cutting into his playing time, then listen to what Jackson told MercuryNews.com about his first round draft pick's effort on defense:
He doesn't give up on plays. He battles. He competes. He knows when he makes mistakes.
Barnes has the upside that you want to see from a rookie, so don't be scared to take a flier on him toward the end of the draft.