Mar 25, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Barnes (40) shoots as he is defended by Kansas Jayhawks center Jeff Withey (5) during the second half of the finals of the midwest region of the 2012 NCAA men

2012 NBA Draft Profile: Harrison Barnes

Over the next week we will be taking a look at various and realistic draft possibilities for the Chicago Bulls. 

The buzz around Barnes sort of cooled during his time at North Carolina but apparently not enough to bump him out of the lottery. Barnes is a prolific scorer who, if he puts his mind to it, could become a top forward in the NBA.

NAME: Harrison Barnes

AGE: 20

HT: 6’8″

POS: Small Forward

COLLEGE: North Carolina

HIGHLIGHTS: No. 1 ranked High School player by ESPNU and, 2010 USA Today All-American High School Team, 2011 ACC Rookie of the Year, 2010 Preseason AP All-American

PROS: Clearly judging from his accolades at this point in his career, Harrison Barnes is something else. He’s got the resume of the prototypical top notch prospect and he backs it up on the court. Barnes is stoutly athletic and he’s a prolific scorer with a jump shot that forces defenders to play him out opening up lanes for him to drive to the hoop. To add to that he can play outstanding defense when he wants to and has an uncanny shot blocking ability (again when he wants to). He’s basically the complete package it would appear in terms of a prospect and could be one of the surest things in the draft lottery.

CONS: I said “when he wants to” two too many times in the pros section of this profile. One of the knocks on Barnes is that he doesn’t always show a sense of urgency and like Jeremy Lamb doesn’t always go full throttle. This could become an issue as effort is everything in the NBA. And although Barnes is athletic, he lacks what is called elite athleticism and he tends to disappear a lot on the court. Some scouts even go as far as to say he’s a one-dimensional player at times.

IS HE A FIT IN CHICAGO: Barnes has been called a slightly better version of Danny Granger and Luol Deng and considering how well Deng has worked in Chicago getting a younger version of him obviously isn’t going to be a bad thing. Like Jeremy Lamb’s comparisons to Rip Hamilton, Barnes would be coming into a system that has already seen a player like him before and would essentially be stepping right into shoes that already fit to a certain extent. Tom Thibodeau would quickly shake any notion inside Barnes head that he  can do things half way and just being surrounded by dedicated players like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will whip Barnes into mental shape quickly. He’s a prolific scorer as well with a jump shot as pretty as Kyle Korver’s so he’d also fill a need that the Bulls have for offense and considering that’s a requirement if you’re replacing Luol Deng, Barnes seems like a perfect fit in Chicago.

BOTTOM LINE: Although he still has some growing to do, Harrison Barnes may very well be the only sure thing in the Draft Lottery. He falls right in between the tier of players that have a lot riding on their success and the players who are a mixed bag of he could be/might mot be. He lacks elite athleticism but at 6’8″ Barnes can make up for the inch most small forwards have on him by being a play maker. He once dropped 40 points in a game against Clemson in 2011 so the potential to be a Kevin Durant type scoring forward is obviously there. He won’t fall out of the top 8 picks.

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