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Saturday, June 23, 2012
2012 draft profile: Will Barton

By Greg Payne

The sixth in a series of profiles of players that might be of interest to the Boston Celtics during the 2012 NBA Draft (June 28, ESPN, 7 p.m.):  

http://insider.espn.go.com/nbadraft/results/players/_/id/19570/will-barton
 
Projection: Late first round (Insider rank: 28; Position rank: 6)

In the news: Barton's stock has taken a bit of a hit due to him weighing in at only 175 pounds on a 6-foot-6 frame. He boasts the height of an NBA shooting guard, but some teams are concerned about his overall lack of size. Zach Dillard of Fox Sports Tennessee investigated: "(Barton) averaged 18 points per game during his sophomore campaign, but even as he confidently fielded questions in the Atlanta Hawks practice gym Tuesday afternoon, his gangly frame never strayed far from the conversation. "(I'll never be) necessarily bigger, just keep gaining strength. They know I'm not going to be the guy who puts on a lot of weight or be real muscular and stuff like that," Barton said. "The key was just to keep gaining strength, and they've been saying to just make sure I can take hits, finish with contact, defend bigger guys."

Why the Celtics Want Him: It's unclear where Ray Allen stands with the Celtics right now, but should he opt to play elsewhere next season, the Celtics will want to try and fill that scoring void at the shooting guard spot and Barton might not be a bad candidate. Barton enters the draft as an accomplished scorer, with the ability to knock down shots from virtually everywhere on the floor. What's more, Barton seems pretty devoted to getting to the free throw line as often as he can, and he isn't afraid to mess around in the paint. We've been noting throughout this draft profile series that the Celtics need to consider adding a player or two who can legitimately score the ball, and discussing Barton seems a good time to reiterate that point. Perhaps not 100 percent NBA-ready right now, Barton could take some time to develop a bit (maybe earn a stint with the now-Celtics-run Maine Red Claws?) and turn into a reliable scorer in the league.

Why the Celtics Don't Want Him: Allen's decision to stay or go -- assuming it's made after the draft -- might have impacted Boston's decision on taking out a flier on a two-guard. If Allen stays, you're already looking at a lineup with him and Avery Bradley, so the shooting guard spot will be pretty well locked up, minutes-wise. Even if Allen ships out to another NBA city, it seems pretty evident that the guard the C's want playing beside Rajon Rondo in the backcourt is Bradley, given how well he broke out during the second half of last season. Additionally, will the Celtics bring back E'Twaun Moore? If so, they'll have a bit of a logjam at the off-guard spot between a few young players already. Would it make sense to add Barton to that mix? Sure, both Bradley and Moore could fill a role as a combo guard, playing at either spot, but Rondo will obviously average high 30s or low 40s in minutes-per-game, leaving opportunities for others at that spot pretty sparse.