Nine of the 15 members currently on the Portland Trail Blazers‘ roster have two seasons or less of NBA experience. That includes Will Barton, who is coming off a rookie season in which he didn’t put up a lot of numbers, but showed excellent potential to be a solid guard for the Blazers.
Barton will likely see action from off the bench for the Blazers, but has the potential to help the team out, especially from the offensive end. Portland coaches were very encouraged with what he showed them late last season.
He averaged 4.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 12.2 minutes a game in his rookie season, but those numbers are bound to go up. He shot only 38.2 percent from the floor and 13.8 percent in threes, but his free-throw shooting, which was at 76.9 percent, was a positive part of his offense.
Barton’s last three games of the 2012-13 regular season were outstanding. He was 5-of-8 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the line in scoring 17 points, dishing out five assists and having nine rebounds against the Denver Nuggets. He followed that up with 8-of-14 shooting for 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals against the Los Angeles Clippers.
He ended the season with a solid 48 minutes and 15 points, plus seven rebounds and four assists against the Golden State Warriors. It’s obviously a three-game stretch that the Blazers hope Barton can carry over into an entire 82-game season.
In the Las Vegas Summer League, Barton averaged 14.5 points as Portland’s second-leading scorer with 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals. He needs to shoot better and cut down on mistakes, but there’s no question that he can help the Blazers in a major way this season.