| Brent Barry Scouting Report

Position: guard
Height: 6-6
Weight: 203
College: Oregon State University
Born: December 31, 1971
Opening Day (2002) Age: 30
Drafted: 1995, First Round, Pick 15, Denver
NBA experience: Seven seasons (three with Sonics)
Hand: Right
Acquired: Traded by Chicago for guards Hersey Hawkins and James Cotton on August 12, 1999
Nickname: Bones
Contract status: Signed through 2003-04 season

Brent Barry Career Stats

2001-02 in Review: In his seventh season in the NBA, guard Brent Barry finally shed the label of underachiever that had dogged him since a strong rookie season, breaking out into one of the NBA’s best and most versatile shooting guards. Not expected to start after finishing the 2000-01 season strong as a reserve, Barry entered training camp as the starter and refused to give any ground to reserve Desmond Mason despite the latter’s fine play off the bench. As one of the older Sonics, Barry emerged as the team’s leader on and off the court, using humor to defuse potentially difficult situations. On the court, Barry put it all together. Arguably the league’s most efficient scorer, Barry shot 42.4% from three-point range and an astounding 58.8% from two, good for first in the league -- ahead of Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal. His overall field goal percentage of 50.8% placed Barry behind only the Utah Jazz’s John Stockton amongst guards. Once considered a potential point guard by Miami Heat coach Pat Riley, Barry shared ballhandling duties in Seattle with Gary Payton. He averaged a career-high 5.3 assists per game and only Chicago’s Fred Hoiberg had a better assist/turnover ratio as a shooting guard then Barry’s 2.58. Barry’s contributions on the defensive glass from the shooting guard position helped keep the Sonics from being outrebounded every game; his 5.4 rebounds per game placed him fifth amongst shooting guards. After serving notice of what was to come with a career-high 31 point outburst against Minnesota on November 27, Barry was at his best during the second half of the season as the Sonics secured a playoff spot. During the months of February and March, when Vin Baker was injured, Barry stepped up his offense, averaging over 17 points per game in each month while maintaining his efficiency. For the season, Barry averaged a career-best 14.4 points per game. The only downside for Barry came in the playoffs, as he largely disappeared in the Sonics’ five-game loss to San Antonio. Whether because of fatigue, the Spurs’ decision to defend Barry with Bruce Bowen, one of the league’s top defenders, or mere ill-timed slump, Barry averaged just 7.8 points per game in the series on paltry 41.2% shooting.

Previous NBA Career: Part of a family with deep roots in the NBA (father Rick is a Hall of Famer, brother Jon a veteran now with Detroit who preceded Brent into the NBA, brother Drew a former Sonic who followed him, and brother Scooter played NCAA ball), Barry was a late bloomer at Oregon State University who developed into a mid-first-round pick. The Denver Nuggets took Barry 15th overall in 1995 and traded him hours later to the Los Angeles Clippers as part of a package for second pick Antonio McDyess. Barry had a strong rookie season in Los Angeles where he appeared on track to be a possible star after averaging 10.1 points per game. Barry capped the season with a Slam Dunk Championship at All-Star weekend. The proverbial sophomore slump hit Barry during the 1996-97 season. Injuries limited him to 59 games, none of which he started, and Barry’s field-goal percentage dropped 65 points from his rookie season. He righted himself during year three, starting 36 of the 41 games he played in Los Angeles, but was traded at the trade deadline to Miami for center Isaac Austin. Barry struggled to adapt to Riley’s complicated system and a return to the bench and was left off the Heat’s playoff roster. A free agent after the lockout’s conclusion, Barry got his payday from the Chicago Bulls, who hoped to make him the replacement for recently retired Michael Jordan. Barry flopped, averaging 11.1 points per game on unacceptably low 39.6% shooting. Looking to cut their losses, the Bulls flipped Barry’s long-term contract to the Sonics for guards Hersey Hawkins and James Cotton. Barry replaced Hawkins as Seattle’s shooting guard for the 1999-2000 season and posted career-bests in points, rebounds, and assists, but there were cracks beneath the impressive surface. Near the end of the season, with the Sonics struggling, then coach Paul Westphal replaced Barry in the starting lineup with Shammond Williams, and Barry played sparingly during the post-season. When he reported to training camp the following fall, Barry found his starting job given to first-round pick Mason. Injuries slowed Barry at the beginning of the season, but the change at head coach from Westphal to Nate McMillan seemed to revitalize Barry, who returned to the starting role in December. By season’s end, Barry had found a groove coming off the bench behind starter Emanual Davis. Barry’s 49.4% shooting was a career-high, in large part thanks to remarkable 47.6% three-point shooting, the top mark in the NBA.

Shooting/Scoring: Simply put, there is no weakness in Barry’s offense. Though he is most adept spotting up in the wings for his feathery release from beyond the arc, Barry is equally comfortable working with the ball in his hands. At times, he seems to be able to drive the lane almost at will. When Barry puts his head down on a ferocious charge to the basket, he is rarely denied. His excellent leaping ability, as evidenced by the Dunk championship, makes Barry a very good finisher in the lane. The mid-range element of Barry’s game is less in evidence, but is there if he needs it. On top of this, Barry is also a fine free-throw shooter, making 84.6% last season. The only question mark for Barry offensively is aggressiveness. At times, he has a tendency to disappear within the offense, and his 12.4 field goal attempts per 48 minutes last season were one of the lowest marks on the Sonics. This tendency was exacerbated by the presence of Baker; with the Sonics looking to establish their erstwhile power forward in the post, Barry’s contributions were often overlooked.
Grade: A+

Floor Game: There is no longer talk of making Barry a point guard (of course, one Gary Payton might have something to do with that), but he handled a significant portion of the ballhandling duties in Seattle last season, allowing Payton to play off the ball. Pairing rookie backup point guard Earl Watson with Barry in the backcourt allowed Watson to make a smooth transition to the NBA. Unlike many catch-and-shoot types of similar skill, Barry can easily rotate the ball if a shot is not there or take off on the dribble. His main flaw in terms of ballhandling has always been attempting to do too much, leading to turnovers. Barry has yet to cure this and probably never will -- if that’s even desirable -- but he is much headier with his decisions as he gains experience.
Grade: A-

Rebounding: Barry’s 5.4 rebounds per game last season were the culmination of steady improvement. He is almost a complete non-factor on the offensive glass because he spends so much time on the perimeter. On defense, however, Barry is skilled at crashing the boards from outside, though he’s not much in terms of boxing out.
Grade: B

Defense: Throughout his career, Barry’s main weakness has been man defense. Though he is quick with the ball and in the open court, Barry’s feet are a step slow, giving him trouble defending quicker opponents. For the most part, Barry did not have to defend high-scoring types last season, with those assignments generally going to Mason or Payton. Away from the ball, Barry plays the passing lanes well thanks to his 6-6 height and long arms. Barry led the Sonics with 1.8 steals per game, a mark which put him in the NBA’s top 20. Though he is skinny -- hence the nickname “Bones” -- Barry’s 6-6 height means he is not a liability defending the post.
Grade: C

Intangibles: A riotous clubhouse personality who might have a future in stand-up comedy if he were not busy with basketball, Barry is well-liked by both teammates and fans. Though he had previously shown little inclination towards leadership, Barry filled the Sonics’ leadership vacuum by doing little things like leading pre-game huddles and taking out rookies Vladimir Radmanovic and Peja Drobnjak. Previous questions about Barry’s proneness to injury and inconsistency were largely answered when he played in 81 of the Sonics’ 82 games last season and scored double-figures in 35 of the team’s final 36 games.
Grade: A

Overall: There is a small minority of Sonics fans who have been quick to question Barry’s place with the team in the wake of his playoff disappearing act. Far more representative of Barry’s importance to the team, however, was his regular-season performance. Though teammates Baker and Rashard Lewis received far more attention in the local and national media, Barry was clearly the Sonics’ second-best player after Payton last season. The thought of losing him to a lengthy injury, despite the presence of a solid alternative in Mason, is unimaginable. Barry’s contract was once considered prohibitive to trade, but he now is one of the league’s better bargains. Though Barry was a bit old to post the best season of his career last season, he still has plenty of basketball left in his body, hopefully all with the Sonics. Barry’s personality makes him an ideal fit for the new Sonic style emphasized by owner Howard Schultz, and there is already talk of him remaining in the organization following his retirement, be it as an assistant coach, in the front office, or a color commentator. With Baker traded to Boston, the Sonics will have more possessions to go around next season, and a large number should end up in the hands of Barry, meaning he could better his career-high in scoring for the third time in four seasons. Barry should also benefit from having his minutes decreased slightly be the presence of Kenny Anderson, who gives the Sonics a veteran third guard they can trust with heavy minutes.
Grade: A-

Brent Barry is with good reason a KeyArena favorite who receives the second-most applause in pre-game introductions. In the opportunities for fans to interact with the team, Barry’s outgoing personality always shines through. At the team’s season ticket holder party two seasons ago, Barry unexpectedly took the mike and began cracking jokes about his teammates. He also had the crowd in stitches at a booster club meeting he spoke at. For reasons I can’t entirely explain anymore, I was initially cool to Barry during his first season in Seattle. By the beginning of this season, however, he had completely won me over. With Watson departed, Barry is now my favorite Sonic.