Twenty games with 20 points or more. Sixty double-digit scoring games. One of six players in NBA history to drop 32 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists as a reserve. Career-highs across the board. Will Barton had himself quite a season.
But beyond that, it was his energy, passion and controlled chaos style of play that made him a fan favorite and a vital part of the Nuggets offense.
“The Thrill” averaged a career-best 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game this season – but his impact went way beyond the box score.
Coach Malone sums it up well: "One thing you know every night about Will Barton, he's going to bring great effort, energy, and he's going to compete. I just love the makeup that he has, his passion for the game and how hard he plays. I think that's contagious for the rest of the guys as well."
Barton definitely earned the trust of the coaching staff to make plays, especially in the fourth quarter. He averaged 5.5 points in the final period this season, good for 14th in the NBA amongst those that played at least 55 games.
Most of the time, they just allow Will to play his game.
“We play him 25, 30 minutes a night, put the ball in his hands and allow him to make plays and he’s done a great job of doing that, especially in the open court,” Malone said.
The confidence that the Nuggets have in Barton is a big part of what allows him to play at a high level every night.
“[Coach Malone]’s just letting me play ball…” Barton said. “I can just go out there and be myself and play free.”
Keep being yourself, Will.
Jonathan Huang | nba.com | April 19, 2016