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2011 Draft Prospect Profile - Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes
Height: 6'8", 212 lbs , 18-years old, UNC, Freshman
Stats after 10 games (28.3 minutes per game): 11.9 points (35% shooting, 29% 3p%), 6.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks
Draft projection: Barnes was the consensus #1 pick before the season started - now? Anywhere between 2-8. I have him as #3.
NBA Position: Small Forward

Harrison Barnes was the number one high school recruit in the nation, and the pre-season consensus #1 pick for the 2011 draft; but after playing 10 games, his draft stock has slipped a bit.  Most mock drafts have dropped him to #2 or #3. On my draft board, he's #3 behind Terrence Jones and an as yet unnamed player at #2. Hey, you don't want me to spoil the surprise, do you? Actually, I haven't been able to see any of my #2 pick's games yet - they have not been on TV, so my draft profiles will be somewhat out of order.

Getting back to Harrison Barnes - he is a player with terrific versatility. He's a very solid player offensively, with the ability to go inside or drain perimeter shots. He is silky smooth, agile and has better athleticism than I thought. He is as comfortable attacking the rim, as shooting 3-pointers. He's probably ready right now for the NBA.

Video after the jump.


Barnes has the prototypical size (6'8", 210 pounds) and length (7'1" wingspan) for an NBA wing. I was not expecting to see an "elite" athlete, but he has surprised me with terrific leaping ability. He doesn't always show it off, but he can really get up. Perhaps not "elite", but surely a half grade behind that. It's difficult for me to gauge how fast or quick Barnes is because he's so fluid and smooth. He plays at different speeds... seeming to float throughout the game, but then shifting to a different gear when he needs it; and it's a gear that no one else seems to possess. He has wide shoulders and long arms, and can probably put on another 20 pounds of muscle without hindering his speed, quickness or athleticism.

The key to Barnes' offensive game is his versatility. Because defenders have to respect his driving ability, it opens up his perimeter shot - and because he can shoot with accuracy, opponents have to play him honestly, opening up driving opportunities. He has terrific footwork and can post up smaller players with a variety of finishing moves around the paint. He does tend to turn the ball over when he's double teamed in the post. Although I wouldn't call Barnes a great play maker, he is not selfish either. The ball certainly doesn't "stick" - once he gets it, he either makes a decisive move, or he passes.

As with most players this age, he is terrific in transition. The difference is that Barnes has superb body control, and can finish over, under and around shot blockers with a variety of snaky contortions. He can finish at the rim with either hand, but his stronger hand is his right. He definately needs to work on a left handed floater, and possibly a lefty hook.

He has excellent form on his jump shot, both off the dribble and on catch-and-shoot. He's got good mechanics, with a quick release and a high follow through. His mid-range shot is very steady. He needs to continue to fine tune his permieter shot, especially off the dribble from range. He's knocking down his free throws at a decent rate (73.5%) for a Freshman - and I can only imagine that percentage will go up with time. This is perhaps the skill that will immediately show dividends in the NBA, as he has a terrific mid-range game. He is a very consistent shooter out to the College 3-point line. He will obviously need to expand his range - but based on his mechanics, attitude and work ethic, I think he'll be a very good 3-point shooter in the NBA at some point.

An above average ball handler, Barnes is able to change directions and fluidly weave in and out of traffic. He's got long strides, but seems in control at all times. He can take multiple dribbles and get to the rim without turning it over. I haven't seen much in the way of advanced ball-handling, beyond the occasional spin move or cross-over ; so he'll need to work on that at the next level.

Barnes possesses all the tools to be a superb defender. Length. Athleticism. Quick hands and feet. Agility. But perhaps his best attribute, and the one that will help most on the defensive end of the floor is his basketball IQ. Barnes is a very smart player that puts forth effort and anticipates well, so he should become an excellent defender at the next level.

Barnes gives good effort on the defensive end getting low and using a proper defensive stance - one foot out, one back. His quickness serves well, as he's able to keep most players in front of him. His length helps to contest shots - although he doesn't seem to go after blocks much. It looks like he'd rather get a hand in the shooter's face than try to actually block the shot. He reminds me of Shane Battier in that regard. He will get the occasional block as a help defender on the weak side.

He's aggressive on the boards and a pretty good rebounder for a wing player. He's averaging 9.0 rebounds per 40 minutes. Unlike many young players, Barnes is a fundamentally sound rebounder, actually blocking out his opponent. He finds his man and backs into him, keeping low with a wide base and his arms wide.  As I said he's aggressive going up for the ball - and because of his quickness, he also gets a lot of rebounds outside his immediate area.

Although I still think Harrison Barnes has tremendous upside - I've been disappointed with his production this year. He looks terrific, passing the "eye test". His moves are fluid and silky - It's just that he has not been able to hit shots or impact games like a top player should. Worse, he seems to disappear for long stretches, looking passive at best and confused and lost at worst.

Case in point was the North Carolina game. I was really looking forward to this game, and the competition between two excellent programs.... not to mention that two of my top SF prospects (Terrence Jones and Harrison Barnes) would be playing in the game. I came away more impressed by the quickness of Point Guards Dexter Strickland (UNC) and Brandon Knight (Ky); and by UNC PF John Henson, and Center Tyler Zeller who took turns controlling the glass and wrecking havoc inside. Zeller closed out the game grabbing contested rebound after contested rebound, and hit critical free throws down the stretch. UNC won 75-73, in a close, hotly contested game.

In the game, Barnes started off slow with a missed mid-range jumper. But he created that jumper with a terrific spin move at the elbow - he just missed the shot. He had a turn over the next time he touched the ball. Then he disappeared - hardly touching the ball for more than 9 minutes of the game.

There was a short stretch where he absolutely took over a section of the game before half time - looking every bit the best player in the nation. He hit a nice floater in the lane high off the glass, followed by a terrific transition dunk. A few minutes later Strickland drove the lane and kicked it out to Barnes for a corner 3 - nothing but ! Barnes then followed it up on the next play with an explosive one-handed putback dunk.  THAT got the crowd up! He really elevated on that one - I didn't know he could get that high. He ended up with 12 points in only 11 minutes on 4-5 shooting. All of his damage was done in a short 2-3 minute stretch just before half time.  But in the second half, he was a non-factor again... completely disappeared - scoring only 1 more point and grabbing 1 rebound in 13 minutes. He had a bad turn over late in the game when he was double teamed, but other than that, I don't remember him even touching the ball. It was like he didn't play in the second half......... although the box score said he played 13 minutes that half, he may as well have been sitting on the bench.

Barnes looks to me like a rhythm player. He seems to need to establish a pace on offense. Get his juices flowing - and get into the flow of the game. The problem is that Head Coach Roy Williams has a very deep team. He plays 10 guys double digit minutes most nights, substituting frequently. I don't think Barnes was in for more than 3 or 4 minutes at a time in the UNC game. It's my opinion that Williams' substitution patterns are hurting Barnes' productivity.

At the same time, I can make all the excuses in the world for Harrison Barnes - but the point remains that if he's the best player in the nation, he shouldn't be disappearing for long stretches of games, and looking lost and confused during other times ; no matter how his Coach divides up his minutes.


More Harrison Barnes Video


Rook's Mock Draft:

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