NBA Draft talk is really picking up and Harrison Barnes has his name being thrown around for good reason. Although Barnes is a big time prospect, he is generally not regarded as the first overall pick.
In fact, major draft outlet http://www.nbadraft.net/2011mock_draft has removed Barnes from this years draft. Who knows what's going on inside the Barnes camp, but apparently he's wavering over his decision to stay at UNC or go pro.
For Barnes there are several factors that can go into his decision.
What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? Where am I guaranteed to be drafted? What kind of impact can I make immediately? Last, what kind of impact can I make long term?
Here is a complete breakdown on Barnes, including answering all of the questions listed above.
Everything about his athleticism is perfect. Barnes can explode, leap, move his feet north/south and laterally, has good strength for his somewhat slender frame, and has the quickness to wow people at the next level.
Shooting wise, Barnes has been a very nice surprise. Barnes has a great looking stroke which will surely translate to the next level. On top of his good looking shot, Barnes has been able to hit many clutch shots this year.
Another thing scouts will love about Harrison is his attitude and work ethic. He is said to be one of the most coachable players on UNC.With the potential that Barnes has, being coachable and working extremely hard should help him be a perennial All-Star.
Barnes is also a deadly assassin. He can score in bunches, all the while flying under the radar. Scouts rave about how he scores "the quietest 25 points you can see."
The most underrated part of Barnes's game is his defense. He has great form, the lateral quickness, and hand speed to be a top end defender in the NBA.
Barnes' biggest weakness is his left hand. It isn't a huge weakness, but it's certainly there. He is weak when driving with it and can't create off it well.
Another weakness is his ability on the fast break. He seems to be much more of a half-court player, which should help him in the NBA. Barnes doesn't explode on the break like many think he should.
One underrated weakness of his game is his ability to disappear. While Barnes is a "silent assassin," he tends to disappear too often. Since Barnes doesn't have tons of flash, he tends to get lost in the shuffle and not step up like he should.
The first five draft picks this year should start off with Cleveland, Minnesota, Washington, Toronto and Sacramento.
Considering those teams, Barnes could go in a lot of places. Derrick Williams and Kyrie Irving are regarded as the top two picks, so rule Barnes out there.
With the next pick, Washington should take Barnes. Washington already boasts a frontcourt with JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche. However, their only legitimate player in the backcourt is John Wall.
Their biggest need is a perimeter player to go alongside Wall, making this selection that much easier.
It's hard to imagine Washington wouldn't take Barnes and even harder to imagine he would slip out of the top five.
If you take a look at the beginning of this season for Barnes, there is reason for concern. Barnes got off to a snail's pace to start before bursting onto the scene in the second half.
With the translation to the NBA, it's very possible Barnes could get off to another slow start. The game is much faster, quicker, smarter and a number of other things that make it harder than college basketball.
However, if he is drafted by a team with no playoff hopes, the pressure will be off until at least the second half.
Expect Barnes to have a slow start to his rookie season followed with a second half where he begins to figure out what the game is all about. After all, Barnes has only been playing on the wing for just a few seasons now.
Like anyone drafted inside the top 10 picks, Barnes can be an All-Star for years to come. The freshman from UNC might be more special than the rest, though.
His overall sound game makes him unique for being so young. The key thing to remember about Barnes is that he just transitioned to the wing a few years ago. How smooth he is at the position so far is remarkable.
Scouts like to compare Barnes to Luol Deng, which is fair from the outside. However, if you look at Barnes' upside and feel for the game, it's hard to believe he can't be a career 20-plus-point scorer when it's all said and done.