Who’s Number One?
Harrison Barnes has lost his iron-clad grip on the Draft’s number one spot.
It’s been quite a few years since we’ve been able to have a serious debate over who should go first overall in an upcoming NBA Draft, but it appears like 2011 is one of those rare years that a debate is in order. Due to the slow start to his freshman campaign, North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes has lost his iron-clad grip on the top overall spot, a spot he has held for a few years already. Shooting 33.7 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from long-range is not going to impress many scouts. But perhaps the most concerning aspect of Barnes’ early performances is the steep drop-off in his level of play when going up against tougher competition. In the Tar Heels four games versus major conference teams (Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Illinois and Kentucky), the freshman has shot 23.3 percent from the floor. Yikes!
So if Barnes isn’t number one, who is? Depends on who you ask. It could be Duke sensation Kyrie Irving, who has been tremendous for the Blue Devils so far. He has shown poise in running the team, has risen to the occasion against tougher competition (he shut down Kansas State’s All-American Jacob Pullen, for example), can get past his defender and to the rim with ease or knock down the outside J, and has been compared to Chris Paul. What more can you ask for? One problem – Irving recently injured his toe, the extent of which still hasn’t been announced, and he could be done for the year. Yikes (again)!
Ok, how about Baylor’s Perry Jones then? Some scouts believe he has more potential than Barnes or Irving because of his size and length. And he’s also had a strong start to his collegiate career, putting up a solid 12.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg and 1.5 bpg. He also leads a very talented Bears team in minutes played. Skeptics still have room to criticize because Baylor hasn’t faced any tough teams thus far–the Bears first real test of the season won’t come until January 17th when they host No. 4 Kansas.
So who’s number one? Your guess is as good as ours. But no worries – we still have six months to figure things out.