Former Raptors guard could shut up haters, thrive with Warriors

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 28: Will Barton #1 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 28: Will Barton #1 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors were so desperate for anyone who could shoot it well from 3-point range that they were at the front of the line for Will Barton when he became available. After a sterling stint with the Denver Nuggets, Barton had fallen out of the rotation for the moribund Washington Wizards last year.

Barton’s play with Toronto was uninspiring, to say the least. The shooting he showed with Denver appeared to have been completely sucked away, and he didn’t look like the high-flying athlete he was early in his career. Barton still remains unattached after the league’s initial free-agent frenzy.

It’s not unreasonable to have worried that Barton’s poor stint with Washington and Toronto was so bad that it could have brought a premature end to his career in the NBA. He may have one last chance to prove the Raptors wrong, as a championship contender might decide to take him on as a rehabilitation project.

The Golden State Warriors conducted workouts with a collection of veteran free agents, with Barton reportedly among them. The Warriors have shown the ability to take largely discarded veterans and fit them into Steve Kerr’s system, which could end up making Toronto look quite foolish if he pans out.

Can Will Barton burn the Toronto Raptors with the Warriors?

The only reason Otto Porter Jr. signed his two-year contract with the Raptors was his resurgence as a member of the Warriors. As both a bench presence and an occasional starter, Porter went from an oft-injured afterthought to someone Golden State could not have lived without.

Barton averaged just 4.5 points per game with the Raptors, making just 35% of his shots and 33% from the field. Toronto kept giving him rotation time to work through his struggles, but Nick Nurse didn’t see the improvement that he expected from the veteran swingman.

Golden State would have a much better half-court offensive attack than Toronto, which should play a part in getting Barton’s 3-point percentage back up. With how fast and reckless the Warriors can play on offense, Barton might look like the difference-maker he was in Denver once more.