Blazers’ Barton preps for anything

Third-year player unsure of his role on the team

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer



LAS VEGAS — Will Barton is trying to find a balance in his game this summer.

In his first season, he had issues with turnovers and most notably what appeared to be a broken three-point shot.

In his second season, Barton not only made strides in both areas. but he also was able to earn a place on the court and make a difference for the Blazers in the playoffs. Now in his third summer league, Barton is taking on a different role. He’s been around the block a few times now.

“I’m just way more comfortable. The game is easier. I don’t feel rushed. Everything I do I’m pretty much in control of it. Nothing is overwhelming anymore,” Barton said.

Barton hasn’t made it a secret that he is trying to showcase his playmaking during the summer league as well as the rest of his game.

“All I’m trying to do is become a complete player and things that I’ve talked about with my inner circle and coach and just being a complete guy and run point guard sometimes,” Barton said. “I just want to get better at it. I just want to be prepared for anything.”

In the Blazers’ first game of the summer league in Vegas, Barton felt that he perhaps was too passive in his attempts to showcase his playmaking.

Barton created two chances for teammates in the waning moments of their loss, which the Blazers coaches were more than happy with. Had they gone in, they say, the story of the game is different.

Barton has always had a knack for getting into the lane and getting his shot, not shying away from taking it to the basket.

He’s still unclear about his role moving forward. The Blazers signed Steve Blake to replace Mo Williams and Blake comes in as more of a “care-taker” point guard than Williams.

However, Barton doesn’t see anything coming his way just yet.

“All I can do is keep playing, keep working hard and do what I do,” Barton said. “I don’t what my defined role is, I don’t know how many minutes I’m going to be playing. I can’t worry about that right now.”

Barton also has a very slight build and has worked to put a little weight on. He admits that he’ll never be a “big guy” but that he is feeling stronger in his upper body and with his leaping ability.

“I been trying to left a little more and workout and get a little stronger,” he said. “I’m never going to be a real big guys. Just, you can tell I’ve been in the gym a little bit.”

In the second game of the summer league, a come-from-behind win against the Rockets, Barton felt as though he was more aggressive and assertive in looking for his own shot.

The People’s Champ also had what was the play of the game when CJ McCollum found him for a thunderous alley-oop.

In the summer league, Barton has also been the most vocal Blazers when it comes to wanting to win the tournament.

“I want to win the tournament,” he said. “If I’m playing, I want to win. Just taking the game serious and trying to do the best I can to win game.”

While Barton’s role is still unclear, he hopes that winning can help get him on the court, wherever on the court that may be.

“I want to improve everything,” Barton said. “Outside shooting, defense, my point guard skills, trying to become a complete player. I see myself playing wherever coach wants me. Playing center, I don’t care.”

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