|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: UNC SF Harrison Barnes||06.19.12 at 1:24 pm ET|
As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.
Position: Small forward
School: North Carolina
Weight: 228 pounds
Achievements: 2012 All-ACC first team, 2012 All-America second team, 2011 ACC Rookie of the Year
Key 2011-12 stats: 17.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 29.2 minutes
What he brings: Barnes is an athletic 6-foot-8 small forward who has the range and accuracy to be effective with mid-range and 3-point shots at the NBA level. While he used to be an interior player in high school, he is projected to play the wing at the next level, and he is still learning the position. Barnes has the potential to be a go-to player at the NBA. He has been compared to the Pacers’ Danny Granger.
While his shooting ability is unquestioned, the main flaw for Barnes is the lack of an explosive first step. Barnes has the ability to make tough shots, but struggles to create easy shots for himself off the dribble. If he can improve his ball-handling and ability to attack the basket, Barnes could be a star in the league.
Where the Celtics could get him: Barnes is projected to land somewhere between picks 4-9, so the Celtics would need to create a big trade package if they have interest in him.
Notes: Barnes was a highly recruited prospect coming out of high school before attending North Carolina, winning the Morgan Wootten player of the year award in 2010. In the 2010 Jordan Classic, Barnes was named co-MVP with Kyrie Irving. Barnes could end up playing alongside Irving next season should the Cavaliers take Barnes at No. 4.
Video: Here’s a compilation of Barnes highlights from the 2011-12 season.