As our NBA Draft profile series rolls on here on InsideTheACC, we take a look at one of the best players in the conference on the offensive end of the floor this past season in North Carolina State point guard Anthony “Cat” Barber.
- Class: Junior
- Age: 21
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 175 lbs.
- 38.7 minutes per game
- 23.5 points per game
- 4.5 assists per game
- 4.7 rebounds per game
- 43.4% shooting overall (36.1% from three)
- 86.5% free throw shooting
Anthony “Cat” Barber made his keep in the ACC by becoming a premier scorer for the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Barber, who culminated his three year collegiate career by becoming the best player on a bad team this past season in Raleigh, scorched the nets to the tune of 23.5 points per game on 43.4% shooting as a junior.
It was not a real surprise that Barber would make the leap to the NBA after his junior season, especially when considering all of the struggles that the Wolfpack have had with their young core and roster turnover. Barber carried one of the more disappointing teams in the ACC in 2015-2016 with his quickness, athleticism, and durability. Barber tallied the highest total minutes per game in the entire conference at 38.7 minutes per contest, and combined the high usage with incredible efficiency. Not only did Barber post the modest shooting percentage that is outlined above, but he used his fine ball handling and slashing ability in the paint to draw fouls and get to the free throw line, where he was an 86.5% shooter from the charity stripe.
As an NBA prospect, many have wondered that with such an impressive offensive game, why isn’t Barber considered to be a more highly rated prospect? For starters, Barber’s frame is a bit too wiry as currently constituted to play with his offensive style effectively at the NBA level. While he was able to effectively carve up defenses in college by getting into the paint, it will undoubtedly be more difficult for Barber to do the same when he goes pro. Standing at 6’3″, 175 lbs., Barber will need to work to put on a little more weight, because as durable as he was at NC State, it will be hard for him to sustain the same style of play at the next level without getting injured.
Additionally, Barber will need to step up his game on the defensive end of the floor. At times, Barber looked as if he was disinterested in playing defense, simply relying on his offensive game a little bit too much. He needs to become a much more well-rounded player, starting with a commitment to playing defense and not taking any possessions off on either end of the floor. While his defense is seen as his glaring weakness, Barber would sometimes become frustrated on the offensive end of the floor if he wasn’t getting clean looks. Defenses at the professional level will wear him out if he doesn’t keep the right mindset and remain level-headed, even if his shots aren’t falling or the outcome isn’t going his way.
Overall, Barber’s effectiveness at the collegiate level on offense will be a big reason for him being potentially drafted late in the second round. There are many questions surrounding his all-around game outside of his ability as a bona-fide scorer, but I would be surprised if a team did not take a chance on him with a late pick in the draft, as his scoring ability provides enough upside for him to become a solid rotational backcourt piece in the NBA down the road.
NBA Draft Projection: Mid-to-Late Second Round Pick