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Harrison Barnes: 2012 NBA Draft Scouting Report

June 26, 2012

Harrison Barnes

North Carolina
6-7 small forward
6-11 wingspan
228 pounds

NBA projections as of June 26, 2012 – 4th overall – 5th overall
ESPN’s Chad ford – 5th overall

From Career Prediction – June 27, 2012 predicts that Harrison Barnes will be a solid NBA player, but not an all-star player. He might make one or two All-Star games at the maximum.  His career numbers will mirror someone like Caron Butler, not saying that he plays like Butler. He should go on to have a career averaging around 16 to 18 points.  He will have a few seasons that he might average around 20 points.

Harrison Barnes actually has potential to be similar to Carmelo Anthony.  The problem is that Barnes does not possess Carmelo’s ability to get to the basket through the use of his ball-handling skills.  This is the single most important skill that Barnes needs to work on to move from solid to All-Star.

However, Barnes is unlikely to improve his ball-handling skills to elite level.  It is very difficult to break down a defender off the dribble facing NBA caliber defense. This is the reason for the prediction of solid but not an All-star.

In relation to other NBA 2012 draft candidates, Barnes ranks ahead of Bradley Beal because he plays the small forward position.


  • Athleticism: Barnes scored very well in the draft combine showing off his speed and leaping ability
  • Position: Barnes position of small forward is an advantage.  For teams looking for a wing player, good shooting guards are more easier to find than good small forwards
  • Flexibility: depending on the situation and the team he is going to, Barnes offers his team or coach the flexibility of playing the four spot in a small line-up for small stretches of the game.  This is very much the case when the opposing team features a non-scoring power forward.

Areas of Improvement

  • Ability to create shots: Without Kendall Marshall, Barnes struggled quite a bit.  Barnes’ improved played as freshman coincided with the insertion of Marshall into the starting line-up.  As a sophomore, Harrison struggled without Kendall during the NCAA Tournament
  • Ball handling: Barnes needs to improve his ball handling.  If he can take his defender off the dribble on a consistent basis, Barnes will be a very potent scorer in the NBA who will average 22 to 24 points a game.
  • All-around game: At this point, Barnes is still more of just a scorer that doesn’t rebound enough or makes his teammates better.  His ability to make his teammates better isn’t too big of a knock against him since almost all NBA players outside of being a point guard are unable to do this.  His rebounding though needs to get better.

Additionally, below is some of criteria of why I make this prediction. For further explanation on each criteria, read below. See Scouting Criteria page for my definitions and examples.

Aggressiveness – Moderately High
Ability to Create Shots – Moderate
Performance Against Top Players and Teams – Moderate
Mental Make-up – Moderately High


Score: Moderately High

Barnes likes to shoot and he shoots a lot.  See table below on aggressiveness statistics per 30 minutes.

What we learn is that Harrison Barnes takes the most shots and still gets to the foul line at a decent level.  As a sophomore, Barnes had a shooting percentage of 44% and turnovers of 2 a game.  This information combined with his high number of field goal attempts per game indicate though he can stand to improve his efficiency, we can say that Barnes is still playing within the offense.

Per 30 minutes FGA FTA AST TO
Harrison Barnes 14.1 5.3 1.2 2.0
Thomas Robinson 12.5 5.8 1.7 2.5
Jared Sullinger 11.7 6.1 1.2 1.9
Royce White 9.2 5.7 4.8 3.6
Anthony Davis 7.9 4.8 1.2 1.0
Dion Waiters 12.0 4.0 3.1 1.6
Bradley Beal 9.3 4.1 1.9 1.8
Jeremy Lamb 10.8 2.9 1.4 1.6
Austin Rivers 10.7 4.9 1.9 2.1

 Ability to Create Shots

Score: Moderate

Watching video of Harrison Barnes, he creates shots through the following ways:

  • Midrange jump shooting – this is the best part of his game
  • Coming off screens
  • Occasion aggression dribble drive – see description here

The only thing preventing Harrison Barnes from joining the level of elite NBA scorers is his ability to breakdown his opponent off the dribble.

Performance against ranked opponents and big games

Score: Moderate

There are two tables below displaying Barnes’ performance as a freshman and as a sophomore.  These tables are in per 30 minutes.  See conclusions below from the data.

Freshman Year

Per 30 minutes G PTS FGA FG% REB
Season 37 16.0 13.7 42.3% 6.0
Ranked Teams 5 13.1 11.3 38.9% 4.8
ACC Tournament 3 19.8 12.1 55.6% 4.0
NCAA Tournament 4 18.7 16.7 42.7% 7.3
Kendall Marshall starting 11 18.5 15.4 44.8% 6.3

* Kendall Marshall was inserted in the starting line-up midway through Barnes freshman season.  The 11 games represent the number of times Marshall was in the starting line-up excluding the 7 tournament games and 2 games against ranked opponents.

Sophomore Year

Per 30 minutes G PTS FGA FG% REB
Season 38 17.5 14.1 44.0% 5.3
Ranked Teams 6 15.2 13.3 38.1% 5.1
ACC Tournament 3 16.2 12.9 41.9% 5.4
NCAA Tournament 4 12.0 13.1 32.8% 4.7

Here is what we learn from the data above:

  • Barnes played better in big games as a freshman than as a sophomore.  He exceeded his averages as a freshman and played below his averages as a sophomore.  As such, we can’t make a clean conclusion on his clutch ability yet.
  • Kendall Marshall plays a big role in Harrison Barnes’ performance.  As a freshman, Barnes broke out of the slump, which coincided with Marshall’s appearance in the starting line-up.  As a sophomore, Barnes struggles in the NCAA tournament also coincided with Marshall’s absence due to injury.

Mental Make-up

Score: Moderately High

As a freshman, Barnes struggled to live up to his preseason All-American status. Despite this, Barnes did not crumble or complain.  He said all the right things.  His game picked up during the end of the season.  He could have easily left for the NBA but he chose not to.

Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images


From → 2012 NBA Draft, UNC

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