The New York Knicks have two open roster spots coming off a trade deadline that saw them trade for Josh Hart.
Scanning through the potential buyout market, one name to keep an eye on is Will Barton. The 32-year-old Barton is working with the Washington Wizards on a buyout.
ESPN Sources: The Wizards are working on a contract buyout for veteran G/F Will Barton, allowing him to become a free agent. Barton, 32, has had a limited role with Washington this season, but started 71 games and averaged 14.7 points for the Nuggets a season ago.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2023
In 40 games this season, he’s averaging 7.7 points in 19.6 minutes. He has seemingly been passed over in the Wizards rotation, though that’s not a reflection of the player Barton has been in his career. Selected with the 40th pick in the 2012 NBA draft, he’s put together a better career than most were expecting.
Here are a few reasons the Knicks should take a serious look at signing Will Barton:
Coming off the bench this season has been new for Barton. In the last four seasons, Barton started 219 of 228 games he appeared in for the Denver Nuggets. Though he wouldn’t be starting on the Knicks, a valuable contributor off the bench could suit him. This is a Knicks team with the fifth-lowest points per game from their bench. Barton is a guy that can score and has averaged double-digit points in his last seven seasons. Even this season, he has 11 games of scoring in double digits. He has a history of getting hot.
Take a look back at some of Barton’s best career games:
Productive in other areas:
It’s not all about the scoring with Barton. He’s generally been a guy that contributes in all facets of the game. His best year in Denver was probably the 2017-18 season. Playing 81 games and starting 40, he averaged 15.7 points, 4.1 assists, and 5.0 rebounds on a 52.8 eFG%. What was most impressive was his 6.6 win shares and 4.4 offensive win shares. Even though that was when he was a spry 27-year-old, I believe he can still have an impact on winning. Just last season, he averaged 14.7 points, 3.9 assists, and 4.8 rebounds on 52.5 percent effective field goal shooting. Playing guard Immanuel Quickley next to Will Barton offers two playmakers that know how to put the ball in the basket. Only the Dallas Mavericks average fewer assists than the Knicks which will likely change after they acquired Kyrie Irving.
The six-foot-six guard/forward hybrid could also help stretch the floor. His 38 percent from three this season would help a Knicks team that has struggled all season from deep. He doesn't shoot from the corners enough but when he does he’s extremely effective. Last season he hit 22-52 (42.3%) from the left corner and 21-45 (46.7%) from the right corner. To put that more into perspective, RJ Barrett is 7-28 (25.0%) from the left corner and 22-59 (37.3%) from the right corner this season. Substituting some of those shots to Barton wouldn’t be the worst option.
His three-point shooting won’t wow you but he’s a capable shooter from deep.
Will Barton can bring playoff experience to a team with hopes of extending their season. Appearing in 29 career playoff games, the 32-year-old has had a taste of playoff basketball. In the last two seasons combined, he’s averaged 15 points and five rebounds while playing 31 minutes a game. This included a 24-point game in a game one loss to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 2022 playoffs.
With his ability to pop any given game, he’s a good player to have on your roster. A player that’s shown he can be that Swiss army knife and do a little of everything. If the Knicks can find a path for playing time then they should really consider going after him.
Though the Knicks seem set on their rotation, he would be a nice piece to add.
Should the Knicks sign Will Barton? Let us know in the comments.
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