Harrison Barnes Warriors

By Marcus Shockley

So I’ve been writing over the past week about ways to make yourself into an elite student, not just an elite athlete, first breaking down how to math word problems and then using Lebron to explain Newton’s laws of motion.

Today I’m offering one of the most powerful tools I know to improve your schoolwork in every single subject: reading comprehension. Wait! I can already see your eyelids drooping – but trust me on this, it’s going to be quick and easy and when you are done I promise you will not only have a better way of approaching all of your subjects but you’ll also know a lot more about the NBA Rookie Pay Scale.

Let’s tip this off.

In order to explain this, let’s start by imagining that you, yes you, get a phone call today from the NBA commissioner.

It turns out there was a glitch during the draft and you were supposed to be the NBA’s 7th pick in the 2013 draft, instead of Ben McLemore (sorry, Ben). The commissioner also tries to pull a fast one on you by telling you that you won’t get more than the rookie pay scale. You are pretty sure that the commissioner and the teams don’t have your best interest at heart, and you know you don’t have an agent advising you, so you rush to look up the rookie pay scale and you look to see what the last two 7th round picks signed for their first year. You see the following table, which lists the rookie pay scale per position picked. Remember, you were picked at the 7th spot:

Pick Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 QO
1 $4,436,900 $4,636,600 $4,836,300 26.10% 30.00%
2 $3,969,800 $4,148,500 $4,327,100 26.20% 30.50%
3 $3,565,000 $3,725,400 $3,885,800 26.40% 31.20%
4 $3,214,200 $3,358,800 $3,503,500 26.50% 31.90%
5 $2,910,600 $3,041,600 $3,172,600 26.70% 32.60%
6 $2,643,600 $2,762,600 $2,881,500 26.80% 33.40%
7 $2,413,300 $2,521,900 $2,630,500 27.00% 34.10%
8 $2,210,900 $2,310,400 $2,409,800 27.20% 34.80%
9 $2,032,300 $2,123,800 $2,215,200 27.40% 35.50%
10 $1,930,600 $2,017,500 $2,104,300 27.50% 36.20%

Then you do a little more research (a.k.a. ‘Googling’) and you find that 2012’s 7th round pick, Harrison Barnes, signed his rookie contract for $2,923,920 for the first year, while Ben McLemore signed his contract for $2,895,960.

Okay, hold up. Both Barnes and McLemore signed for more than the rookie pay listed in the table, which was $2,413,300. In fact, both are getting considerably more in their first year – about half a million dollars. So what gives?

It turns out that the rookie pay scale is not an exact amount, but a range. Contracts can be up to 120% of the amount listed and not less than 80% of that amount. So while the team who is about to offer you a deal would love for you to take the rookie pay scale, you already know that the last two draft picks got quite a bit more, and you are ready to play hardball.

Now, back to reality.

Without looking back at the scenario we talked about, can you answer any of the following questions?

1. Are rookies in the NBA paid exactly at scale?

2. Does the rookie NBA pay scale – the amount the player gets paid – change based on their draft position?

3. At which draft position were Ben McLemore and Harrison Barnes both taken?

4. Who called you on the phone to tell you there’d been an NBA draft mistake?

I’m pretty sure you could recite the answers to all of those questions without even batting an eye, and you might be thinking, ‘well, duh, of course – I just read that information a few seconds before you asked me!’.

But see, here’s the point: you didn’t instantly recall the details of the draft scenario simply because you just read it.

Actually, you recalled it because it was interesting and it most likely involved several things you want to know more about – the NBA, money, how much money someone can make playing basketball, and so on. As sports fans, we also know there is a culture of knowledge around sports, and we don’t want our buddies beating us up because they know more than we do. So you were reading with focus and interest, even if it didn’t feel like it.

I’m pretty sure that tomorrow, you could explain how the rookie pay scale works if someone asked you about it. I’d go so far that you’d remember how the rookie pay scale works if someone asks you two years from now.

Here’s the real kicker: that, in a nutshell, is reading comprehension, and even though we aren’t always trying to learn the NBA salary scale, anything we are trying to read an retain can be done in the same way. All you have to do is read whatever it is you’re trying to learn with the mindset that you want to be able to turn around and explain it to someone else.

I’m not saying it’s always a breeze, but the concept will always work. Read as though you’ll have to really explain it, and you’ll find that you will pay more attention to the subject matter, and your brain will really try to get a fundamental understanding of what you are reading as opposed to just trying to memorize it (which never works).

You can follow Marcus Shockley on Twitter.

By James Blackburn

UNC Basketball John Henson
Photo: Flikr/compacflt

James scouted UNC last year against Wake in February.

In this report, James takes a look at how each of these players improved in their respective weaknesses from last season.

UNC wins 68-53

Box Score

(Reports from UNC @ Wake game on January 31, 2012)

Harrison Barnes, 6’8”, F, SO
Strengths
Showed grit and toughness on the boards (4 rebounds in first 6 minutes). Rebounding numbers per game are down a bit from last season, 5.8 to 4.6 so far this year- but strong performance shown tonight. Hard to get rebounds when you have Henson and Zeller feasting on the back boards. Form is picture perfect. Excellent physique and NBA level build.

Weaknesses
Must improve defensively- watching this game- seems to have almost taken steps backward in this area- poor close outs- had a tough time defending Nikita Mescheriakov. Slow release- won’t be able to be a player who gets shots off in the NBA coming off curl screens or cuts with an NBA 3 guarding him.

Overview
Looked focused in warm- ups. His straight away set 3’s looked good- strongest spot and shot. He also shot a lot of 1 dribble pull ups going to his left. Has a high release, but it has not seemed to speed up any from last year. Hard worker- will be a true professional- a player you won’t have to worry about both on and off the court. Will be a top 10 pick- speed and athleticism are average compared to an NBA SF, which is what he will play- better shooter though than average 3.

Tyler Zeller, 7’0”, F/C, SR

Strengths
Had a nice pass to Barnes out of double team- improved passer from last year. Great rebounder- sticks with it- physically dominated Wake Forests bigs inside. Does a great job of absorbing contact and takes advantage on the FT line (over a 75% FT shooter)- nice touch on FT line. Very strong base. Hook shot is pro-ready.

Weaknesses
Limited offensively- back to the basket offense only- hasn’t showed me the ability to step out or face up yet. Questions about his ability to stop pro-level guards from turning the corner.

Overview
Warm-ups- His right hook shot over his left shoulder looked good- shot over 30 of them from multiple angles- even looked good from 3rd hash mark. He also practiced a spin into a left hook shot that banked in. Went to Zeller a lot early. Averaging almost 10 rpg and shooting almost 60% from the field for the season ( both career best). Did very well against Wake Forests post players, but I still question how he will do against NBA centers. He is a safe first rounder.

John Henson, 6’10”, F, JR

Strengths
Left hand hook is pro ready. Athleticism allows him to shade on screens and get back to man quickly. Influences every shot taken in his vicinity. His midrange game looks better, but he will need to continue to work on it. Excellent defensive rebounder- chins ball every time (154 def. boards for season- leads team- averages 9.9 rpg- also leads team)

Weaknesses
Must improve perimeter defense- stands up instead of getting low in defensive position. Brought ball down too low when in post. FT’s are very inconsistent. Has added muscle (220lbs), but must continue to get stronger- got pushed too deep several times.

Overview
In warm-ups FT’s looked better then last year, but still must improve in that area (shooting 45% from line this year). His off hand placement needs to be more consistent, sometimes it floats on top of the ball and when this happens his misses are all over the place. When he keeps his hand on the side it looked good. Henson has improved every season- he has put on muscle, developed a solid post game, and continues to influence the game defensively in the paint. In my opinion he is on the verge of being a lottery pick in a deep upcoming draft. Will fit in nicely with a team who needs a long, athletic PF, full of upside.

Kendall Marshall, 6’3”, PG, SO

Strengths
Moves the ball with precision, accuracy, and quickness against man 2 man and zones. Hit an open in game set 3- good arc, rotation- looked just like warm-ups. Knows exactly where teammates are going to open up, cut, etc. and gives the ball in perfect scoring position. Passes the ball up-court better then any PG in America. Quick hands defensively- deceptive.

Weaknesses
Slow lateral movement defensively- really struggles to keep opposing guards out of paint. Needs to develop a shot off the dribble. Too passive offensively (shooting only 43% from field on barely over 5 shot attempts per game)

Overview
In warm-ups his set 3 ball was not near as flat as it was last season- his arc is better. In Marshall you know you are getting a poised, pass first PG (over 200 assists 21 games into season). I question how well he is going to do in the pros because of his defensive woes. A team will and should take a chance on him in the second round- I don’t know if his skills warrant a first round selection.

Staff Reports

Washington Huskies guard Venoy Overton (1) works to steal the ball away from North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Barnes (40) during their third round NCAA men’s basketball game in Charlotte, North Carolina March 20, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

      

With the NBA back in full preseason swing, college season hitting the December stride and high schools getting ready for their holiday tournaments, basketball season is officially here. Let’s take a swing around the net to see the top stories today.

First off, Real GM takes a story from Sports Illustrated and spins it into a piece denigrating the defensive ability of Harrison Barnes:

Harrison Barnes has the worst stop percentage — which measures the percentage of opponent individual possessions directly stopped by a player — of any Tar Heel rotation player at 50.6 percent.

Next, we have the news of Chris Paul to the Clippers dominating ESPN and every other network as they continue to miss the big story (why on Earth would Paul choose to play for one of the worst franchises in the league), which is whether this is a temporary move by Paul to get closer to playing for the Lakers. At any rate, some media outlets think that David Stern did exactly what he tried to avoid earlier and created another big market powerhouse:

No matter what David Stern says, the controversy surrounding the Chris Paul trade(s) started because he was initially going to the Los Angeles Lakers, the league’s marquee franchise. As Dan Gilbert’s strongly worded letter showed, small-market clubs still harbor a good deal of animosity towards their big-market colleagues. It’s not too surprising either, because the dynamic between those franchises is what caused the lockout in the first place.

Finally, let’s talk high school hoops. Thursday night saw a bevy of games on ESPN, including Oak Hill and Miller Grove in a game loaded with high major talent. It’s great to see players we’ve featured on Basketball Elite in the past as they move on to become more known in their careers, including players like Tyler Lewis, Jordan Adams and A.J. Hammons. Oh, by the way, A.J.’s interview will be posted next week.

By Marcus Shockley

David Stern NBA
Photo: Nets Basketball

There’s a lot of rumors swirling about the NBA labor situation and the potential for a work stoppage, more commonly known as a ‘lockout’. The very word creates a feeling of apprehension and distaste for fans, many of whom remember the last strike-shortened season all too vividly. Many experts and people close to the situation feel a lockout is not only a possibility, but inevitable.

However, one area that has remained somewhat unclear is where this puts the potential college players who would be entering the draft this year, and those who are considering early entry possibilities.

There are a lot of rumors circulating about what would happen to these players in the event of an NBA lockout. Fans of some high profile college programs may be hoping that a lockout will keep some of their star underclassmen from leaving early, while others state that these players can still be compensated by agents.

Darren Heitner, Founder/CEO of Dynasty Athlete Representation and the Founder/Chief Editor of SportsAgentBlog.com, talked about some of the questions regarding the potential NBA labor problems and how it might affect college players this year.

If there is an NBA lockout, how does this affect potential players entering the draft? If, for example, the lockout extended for over a year, would the players effectively be prevented from getting paid or signing?

Heitner: NBA Draft eligible players who have put their names into the draft would still be selected by NBA teams and those teams would retain the rights over those players. Players would only get paid based on the amount of games they play. If there is not a full season, players would earn a pro rata share of the total value of their contract for that year.

If players cannot sign or collect a paycheck during a lockout, would this likely affect players deciding to go pro early?

Heitner: It certainly is affecting players’ decisions to leave college early to play professional basketball. We already have witnessed Sullinger state he is coming back, and more recently, Harrison Barnes has indicated he will return to North Carolina. These are two players who had a very strong chance at being selected in the top 5 of the first round. Others such as Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, and Brandon Knight are rumored to be waiting and listening as to what will occur in CBA discussions between now and the deadline to withdraw from the Draft.

There are mixed reports that some agents are attempting to gather funds to help their players during an extended lockout. Is this accurate, or just speculation, and if true, would it extend to players entering the draft?

Heitner: At this point, it seems to be mere speculation, but I certainly would not count that out. I remember last year when Xavier Henry would not sign with the Grizzlies because the team refused to sign him at 120% of his slot (which many teams do without even questioning the player selected). His agent, Arn Tellem, told a newspaper that he was ready to pay his client the difference if the team would not oblige. The bigger agents and agencies with large reserves will certainly be in a better position to provide funds to clients in the event of an extended lockout.

For players who are seniors entering the NBA, is there a possibility that a long term lockout would lead some to try playing overseas for a year?

Heitner: It is not only a possibility, I see it as a likely consequence. Many of these players do not come from the best socio-economic backgrounds and need to start earning money as soon as they leave school. The domestic leagues other than the D-League leave much to be desired in terms of level of play and payments. Furthermore, players need to continue to develop and not lose any part of their games. I do believe that in the case of an extended lockout, players will look to go overseas, but it will not happen until it is clear that the lockout will cancel a majority of the NBA season.

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By James Blackburn

Roy Williams UNC
Flikr/Kevin813


(Reports from Wake @ UNC game on February 15, 2011)

Harrison Barnes, 6’8”, F, UNC
Strengths
Good shooter who follows his shot. He never misses right to left and rarely leaves the ball short- good misses when he does miss a shot. Strong upper body. Had several nice passes to post players against the Wake Forest zone. Showed the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to rim where he can finish with either hand. Good defender when he wants to be. Although he is not known to be a superb athlete- he did have several athletic above the rim finishes late in the second half, including a drop step dunk in traffic.

Weaknesses
Although he is a good shooter, he doesn’t have the quickest release. Potential to be a great defender (he showed this towards the end of the game), but seems to take some defensive possessions off. Has a bad habit of putting the ball over his head and holding it against the zone- needs to bring the ball down and protect it in triple threat position, so he can be a threat at all times.

Overview
Solid game from Barnes, who finished with 17 points and 4 assist. He seems to be getting better and better each game and is looking more comfortable. Did not force the issue and took much better shots than the last time I saw him play earlier in the year vs. Kentucky. Will definitely be a top 5 pick.

Tyler Zeller, 7’0”, F/C, UNC
Strengths
Gets great post up position-very deep. Has good post moves- very effective hook shot. Runs the floor well. Good strong rebounder. Ty Walker’s (Wake Forest, 6’11”) shot blocking ability had no effect on Zeller today (6-9 FG). He was getting whatever he wanted on the offensive end.

Weaknesses
Needs to improve passing ability out of post.

Overview
Zeller continues to impress. Zeller does not really make you say “Wow” with anything he does, but he is a solid player, who does many things- rebounds, scores, and defends. Not the most athletic player, but he will play in the NBA.

John Henson, 6’10”, F, UNC
Strengths
Active player on both ends of the floor. Great rebounder, especially on the offensive end. Does a good job of keeping the ball alive and tipping the ball the ball in basket, even when he does not have great position. Good shot blocker, who either blocks or alters most shots in his vicinity. Does a good job of keeping space between himself and offensive player so he can block the shot. Athletic player. Showed off an improved low post/all-around offensive game with some nifty moves around the basket. Good footwork. Right handed player who loves to go left. Very long- length causes havoc on defensive end. He guards the inbound pass under the goal- had several deflections and caused some steals b/c of active hands and length- makes it difficult for opponents to get ball in bounds, let alone getting a score.

Weaknesses
Must get stronger. Needs to improve FT shooting- 4-10 FT for the game. His shooting form is not bad, but the consistency is not there- the shot might miss short, long, left, or right. He needs to develop a mid range jumper.

Overview
Good game today from Henson, who finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Has a never ending motor. Henson has made major strides in his offensive game, but there is still room for improvement. Will be a good fit for most NBA teams.

Kendall Marshall, 6’3”, PG, UNC
Strengths
Great passer. Does a lot of little things well. Directs the offense- very poised and savvy player, especially for a freshman PG. Good in transition- makes good decisions, high basketball IQ. Ability to create own shot. Uses creativity to get into the pain.

Weaknesses
High dribble. His jump shot needs improvement. His shot is flat, but his mechanics look OK. Needs to improve his overall offense.

Overview
Marshall is now going to be leaned upon even more at PG since the departure of Drew. Very good assist to turnover ratio. Finished with 8 assist, 3 rebounds, and 3 points. A player to keep an eye on.

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By Marcus Shockley

Harrison Barnes, the 6’8″ freshman forward for UNC and possibly a future number one NBA draft pick, opened up his college basketball career by hitting his first shot. Barnes joins a couple of other highly touted incoming freshman to the Tar Heels who are working to return the team to their title-contending form from two years ago. The first game against Lipscomb was a mixed bag.

Barnes looked solid at times, over eager at other times and too often, settled for jump shots. However, he did score consistently and certainly played well as a starter. The Tar Heels are almost completely rebuilt from last season, with new starters everywhere and players taking on new roles.

Dexter Strickland is no longer having to run the point and drive the offense, now being moved to his more natural position of off guard. Incoming point guard Kendall Marshall is a better option to back up Larry Drew, and even though Marshall was considered to be a ‘pass first’ point guard, he scored well and managed to push the offense effectively.

Overall, even though all eyes were on Harrison Barnes, the workhorses of the game were John Henson, who snagged a near triple-double with 10 points and 17 rebounds, Tyler Zeller who started at center and added 15 points, and freshman Reggie Bullock, who came in off the bench and immediately started scoring points. The Heels looked better than last season, but it’s not clear yet if they warrant their current top ten ranking.

Lipscomb showed they also have a trio of solid players in guard Josh Slater, who scored 21 points, freshman point guard Robert Boyd, and post player Adnan Hodzic, who scored 14 points in the loss.

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With the John Wall recruiting hype over, and Lance Stephenson looking like he hopes somebody will pay him some money to play somewhere, we move on to the biggest names for 2010.

First, let’s talk about the top players who aren’t committed, and leading that pack is Harrison Barnes (SF, 6’6″, 2010), followed by Brandon Knight (PG, 6’3″, 2010), Josh Smith (C, 6’9″, 2010) and Kyrie Irving (PG, 6’1″, 2010).

Right now, Barnes is considered the top player and he just completed a visit to the campuses of Duke and UNC (which isn’t hard, considering they are only eight miles apart). He already has offers from both schools, as well as Kansas, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma and just about anywhere else he wants to play. Harrison Barnes is currently the number one player we’re tracking for 2010.

Barnes is a good outside shooter and has the size and handles to legitimately play the 2 in the pros if he continues to develop. He has a guard’s court vision and can slash as well, although he needs to be able to develop the ability to create his own shot and finish his slashing moves better. His first step is very, very quick and he uses it to get to the basket extremely well.

One thing I really like about Harrison’s game is his stroke. I would like to see him display a little more athleticism for a 6’6″ guy around the basket, because it could be an issue when he’s going against big 6’9″ guys in the paint every night in college. But I’m going to see a lot more of Barnes before then.

Here’s some video of Mr. Barnes: