Profiling the NBA Draft: Harrison Barnes

In anticipation of the NBA Draft Lottery on May 30th, we will be profiling each of the top-10 players available in the NBA Draft from 10 to 1, discussing their strengths, weakness, and how each player could theoretically fit or not fit with the Cavaliers. For Tyler Zeller click here, Perry Jones III click here, and John Henson click here. Below is our profile on North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes. 

To follow contributor Nick Mancini on Twitter go here: @NickMance

No. 7 – Harrison Barnes, Sophomore, North Carolina; 2011-12 stats: 17.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 44% shooting.

North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Barnes (40) slaps hands with teammate Stilman White (L) in the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks in their men's NCAA Midwest Regional basketball game in St. Louis, Missouri, March 25, 2012.
The Cavs need a scorer. Harrison Barnes might be the best pure scorer in the entire draft. Seems like a match made in heaven, right?  After Barnes’ freshman year, he was probably a top-5 pick in last year’s draft, a possibility for the Cavaliers at #4 even. But, Barnes decided to return the Chapel Hill for another go round.

Barnes showed in his two seasons that he could put the ball in the hole. At 6-8, he is as smooth as can be on the floor and makes scoring look effortless at times. He has a great midrange game and can definitely extend that range beyond the arc. Defensively, he has the tools to be a great defender at the next level. He is long and has the ability to stay with other wing players. But, for some reason this past season, many people wanted to look at Barnes’ shortcomings.

He has the knock of only being a good athlete. Scouts say he isn’t the greatest ball handler and is slightly one-dimensional. When UNC got to the NCAA Tournament, many people, including myself, had them winning it. Then injury struck and they lost starting point guard Kendall Marshall to a broken wrist. This only intensified the talk of Barnes being one-dimensional. The loss of an elite point guard showed that Barnes had trouble creating his own shot and needed someone to get him the ball.

In the two games he played without Marshall, Barnes was a combined 8-30 shooting, 2-14 from 3-point range. Does Barnes need a solid point guard to set him up? Maybe, but so do a lot of other player as well. And last time I checked, the Cavs have this kid named Kyrie Irving who might be able to help Barnes with that.

Despite what is said or written about Barnes, I think he fits very well with the Cavs and that they have to look at him. Unless they end up picking in the top 3. If they are sitting in the 4-6 range though, they would be hard pressed to find a guy to come in and be able to provide what he does.

Barnes would slide right into the 3, next to Irving and whoever is playing the 2 (O.J. Mayo anybody?) and be able to take some pressure off the offense. Teams would have to respect his shooting ability, which opens up the paint for Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao.

Simply put, I think the Cavs could do much worse than adding Barnes to a core of Irving, Thompson and Varejao.

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine,,, and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.