Originally written on Sports Junkie Online  |  Last updated 10/24/14
I was probably not the only person surprised on Draft night when Will Barton wasn't selected in the first round, as he slid all the way to 40th pick, where he was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers. Averaging 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds a game his sophomore season, Barton also has above average length and solid athleticism/quickness that should translate well in the NBA game. Despite the numbers he put up, perhaps the number that concerned general managers the most was 175. That's how much the 6'6" guard/forward weighs.
Barton is aggressive on the glass, and does a great job of attacking the basket, as he averaged over five free throw attempts in his sophomore season, and those things might have been part of the concern for general managers. How can they invest guaranteed money in a guy whose slight frame could take significant abuse against the size and strength of NBA players?
The reigning Conference USA Player of the Year still needs to work on his jump shot, but showed significant improvement in field goal percentage (+8.1%), three-point percentage (+8.1%) and free throw percentage (+5.0) in his sophomore season. Barton also showed to be a solid on-ball defender, and adept at playing in the passing lanes (1.4 steals/game). He's also a willing passer (2.9 assists/game), and is an all-around team player.

Barton is a somewhat hard player to project, as the combination of his playing style and physical attributes make it hard to find an NBA comparison. Houston Rockets shooting guard Kevin Martin has a slight build like Barton, yet does a great job of attacking the rim and getting to the foul line. Martin was a better shooter than Barton as a rookie, but didn't play much that season (which is likely to happen with Barton).
Another (perhaps more accurate) comparison is Josh Howard. Like Barton, Howard slid some in his draft (29th overall) despite putting up very good numbers in college. Howard eventually developed into a very good scorer and rebounder with the Mavericks, but has always been a good-to-very good defender.
With Wesley Matthews (and probably Elliot Williams) ahead of him at shooting guard, and Nicolas Batum entrenched as the starting small forward, Barton definitely has his work cut out for him to earn playing time this season. If he can continue to develop his jump shot and add some muscle to his frame, Barton could start to crack the rotation in years two and three.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

2014 World Series: Game Three live blog

Memorabilia dealer at center of Todd Gurley scandal fired

Colt McCoy on learning he was starting ‘it’s about f—ing time’

Four Questions for Game 3 of the World Series

Percy Harvin not planning on changing

Ricky Williams: People are let down when I turn down weed

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

Randall Cobb: Contract situation played role in slow start

Notre Dame WR faces discipline if he hooked up with porn star?

PGA president calls Ian Poulter ‘lil girl’ for Nick Faldo comments

Belichick declines to address Revis' reported tardiness

Texas mayor delays Halloween for Friday night football game

8 NFL records that won’t be broken for a long time

Big trouble for Bruins: Chara out 4-6 weeks, possibly more

Blazers, Seahawks owner Paul Allen gives $100M to fight ebola

'FIFA 15' glitch turns goalie into headless giant with no arms

WATCH: HBO releases trailer of 'The Offseason: Kevin Durant'

Broncos corner snags INT, then takes pregnant wife to hospital

Gurley dressed up as a pirate for Halloween, yelled, 'Free me'

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Nick Saban pens touching letter after high school coach dies

NBA Replay Center readies for its debut on Opening Night

WATCH: Former NBAer delivers vicious flying elbow Down Under

RNS looking to add agents with existing client rosters

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Trouble for Bruins: Chara out 4-6 weeks

Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

NBA Replay Center debuts next week

World Series win = Giants dynasty?

Reliving the worst college football game of the last 10 years

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Programs with a lot on the line this week

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift

Lakers: Steve Nash out for season

Is Mack Brown SMU's best option?

Are sports leagues finally getting serious about domestic violence?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.