Harrison Barnes: An Improved Scorer

        General Managers and scouts came into the season with very high expectations for UNC wing Harrison Barnes after his excellent finish to the 2010-11 season and high marks from his summer camp play. After being the odds-on-favorite to be the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, a slow start derailing Barnes stock before he was able to restore it late in the season; mostly settling for contested and ill-timed jumpers, Barnes shot 40.3 percent from the floor and 31.9 percent from 3-point range thru his first 26 career games, achieving a 13.4 points per game average- hardly what we expected from the pre-season All-American. Then Barnes started to slash more to the rim and set up his jump shot by keeping the defense off balance- he upped his percentages to 45.5 percent shooting from the floor, 37.8 accuracy from behind the arc and a 21-points per game mark. Through this week, we are seeing a more aggressive Barnes, similar to that of the role he played in the second-half of his freshman season. But even still, scouts are wondering if Barnes is anything more than a scorer?

        He may not be the all-around player some predicted, but his talents as a scorer are becoming much more refined; he is using nearly the same number of North Carolina's possessions/shots as last season, but he is just doing it in a more efficient manner. His offensive rating is up from 105.8 to 114.2, upping his true shooting percentage from 52.2 percent to 57.1 percent in his sophomore year. Perhaps the biggest improvement in his game has been his spike in free-throw rate. As a freshman, Barnes was only getting to the foul line 25 times for every 100 field-goal attempts. This year, its 38 times per 100. And the reason behind this is that Barnes is taking less 3-point shots and attacking defenders off the dribble more often, knocking down mid-range jumpers and shots in the paint at a much-higher rate; his 39 percent of his total field-goals attempted were from behind the arc last season versus only 20 percent this season.

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