Will Barton has heard all about his perceived detractors: He's too skinny, too unorthodox and too undisciplined.
But Thursday night, he was an NBA draft pick.
It may have taken longer than he'd hoped, but Barton — a swingman out of Memphis — went at No. 40 to the Portland Trail Blazers. He will join All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge on a team that finished a disappointing 28-38 last season, missing the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Four picks later, guard Kim English, a Baltimore native who played at Randallstown and then Missouri, was drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the 44th overall pick in the second round.
Falling to the second round was likely a surprise for Barton. The former Lake Clifton star told The Baltimore Sun last week that he expected to go within the draft's first 30 selections. In fact, he said he'd heard the Dallas Mavericks' No. 17 pick was a possibility.
But for no obvious reason Barton slid, and he'll now have to compete for a spot on the Trail Blazers. Second-round picks don't have guaranteed contracts.
It’s possible scouts were concerned with Barton’s slight frame at 6 feet 6 and a rail-thin 175 pounds. Some questioned his ability to drive to the rim in the NBA. They figured a slight bump would send him reeling and that his frame wouldn’t allow him to put on the necessary muscle.
It was an interesting fall considering Barton's numbers at Memphis last season. After all, he ranked higher than every top-rated wing prospect in all the major statistical categories as a sophomore. The reigning Conference USA Player of the Year averaged 18 points, eight rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals last season while shooting 50.9 percent from the field for the NCAA tournament-bound Tigers.
"I believe his toughness says it for itself," Memphis coach Josh Pastner said earlier this month. "He's got a great motor, and look at his rebounding numbers. The guy can flat-out rebound. And he gets tough, hard-nosed rebounds in traffic."