Making it to the NBA has always been a dream for Will Barton. Since he was drafted in the 2012 NBA Draft as the 40th overall pick, Barton has been able to fulfill another goal of his – giving back to the community that he grew up in.
Barton is a Baltimore native and recently returned to host a backpack giveaway and block party for neighborhood youth at Goodnow Community Center.
It’s always been part of Barton’s vision to come back and make his community a better place.
“It means the most to me,” Barton told Nuggets.com. “It’s been a dream and vision of mine when I was young. I was just trying to believe that I would go to the NBA one day and when I got there, I wanted to [come] back and give back anyway I can.”
He is also hosting a basketball camp for some of the top high school players in the area. This elite camp will offer personal instruction from Barton and his team of coaches. They will offer on court instruction as well as off court advice for some of Baltimore’s brightest basketball players.
“We’re just trying to help them learn and how to get ahead [in basketball] and in life.”
At the end of it all, Barton’s just trying to make a positive impact.
“[I’m] just really lending my time anywhere I can,” Barton said of his offseason activities. “Being out in the neighborhood and the streets talking to the kids and people, spending time with my family and friends. I’m just being myself.”
Barton’s also been on the basketball court often.
“Oh yeah, I’m always working on my game,” Barton told Nuggets.com. “I’m a gym rat. I love to get better. I hate being out of the gym [for too long]. I always feel like someone else is getting better if I’m not. I just love the game. I’m already thinking about next season.”
Barton played well in the 2015-16 season, playing in all 82 games and averaging a career-high 14.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. He had twenty games of 20+ points and sixty where he scored at least double-digits. Barton’s strong play earned him recognition as a candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award. But this summer, the focus has been to get even better as an all-around player.
“Just my overall skill set,” Barton told Nuggets.com of what he’s been working on this offseason. “I’m just trying to improve on every aspect of the game. I’m just trying to be more consistent with my jump shot and just trying to get better with my decision making.”
When asked about the outlook of the Nuggets for next season, Barton was optimistic but noted avoiding injuries will be vital. Several players missed time last season due to injury, including Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Jusuf Nurkić.
“Our health [will be important]. We have a lot of our young guys coming back with another year under their belt and the talented rookies are coming in.
“If we buy in, defend, and grow together, we can be a pretty good team.”
Jonathan Huang | nba.com | August 8, 2016