With the draft less than a week away, let us take a look at the potential sleepers in this year’s draft. Here is a take on a few players who could blossom into solid contributors in the NBA and potentially even reach stardom: Will Barton and Arnett Moultrie.
Statistically speaking, Barton is one of the best shooting guards in this year’s draft. His averages of 18 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 51% from the field, placed him higher than other projected first round shooting guard draft prospects in all of those categories. Barton went from shooting 42% from the field and 26% from the three-point line his freshman year to making 51% of his shots from the field and 34% from downtown this past year, which helped him take home the Conference USA Player of the Year award.
Barton has a great amount of length and leaping ability which makes him a talented player in the transition. He has great body control around the rim and can adjust himself in air to get to the basket. Last year, he was one of the premier rebounding guards. In college, Barton could guard positions 1-3. His length and quick first step helped him be a solid defender at the University of Memphis. While these skills serve him well, he will need to hit the weight room to keep up with the physicality of the NBA. The kid has a great motor and since high school many coaches and teammates have applauded Barton on his work ethic and personality.
One of the biggest knocks for Barton is his lack of strength. He is extremely lanky, and many scouts have questioned his decision to leave University of Memphis two years early. Another year of strength development will greatly benefit his game. With a couple seasons of adapting his offense to the NBA and weight gain, Barton would possibly have the tools to be a solid contributor in this league.
One of the most explosive and athletic big men in this draft, Moultrie has the ability to jump out of the gym. He has excellent length and size at 6’11 and 230 pounds. Given his athletic ability and size, he can play the four or five in the NBA. He initially played for UTEP, however, cited differences with Coach Tim Floyd, and resulted in his transfer to Mississippi State.
Moultrie’s offensive game is versatile, as he can score inside and out. He runs the floor like a guard with long and fluid steps. Moultrie is a nightmare for defenses due to his explosive quickness and high vertical. He is an agile and quick move in the paint and can play face and back to the basket.
Moultrie’s defensive game is his biggest weakness. A player of his physical stature and athleticism should generally be averaging more than one block a game at the college level. He plays outside the paint for long periods of time on defense and cannot recover fast enough to guard the paint. Although already a big presence, Moultrie still needs to add some size to defend the bigger bodies in the NBA.
With the athleticism and offensive skill set that Moultrie possesses, he makes a very intriguing pick if he can commit to the defensive end.
Weigh in with your thoughts and comments below. Who do you think the sleepers are of the 2012 draft? Which sleepers would you like to see the Blazers give a shot?