This started off as a comment but got too involved, so I made a fanpost. It's early but let's take a look at how Barnes, Jones and Sullinger (Sams' top 3 right now) stack up against each other.
Thanks to statsheet.com, we can easily compare the three players so far.
Here is the link comparing Barnes, Jones and Sullinger. It's easy to add someone as well, if you want to look at someone else. Tobias Harris, anyone?
Note: Before we begin, I wanted to apologize for linking to my own site so much. I do not know how much college basketball readers here watch and while I provide a limited sample size of clips with these posts, they can often tell us much more than just reading about it or digging through box scores. Don't click on them if you don't want to but I thought they might be a useful tool for some.
Everyone is concerned about Barnes. What is most daunting to me is his lack of aggressiveness so far. He averages about 11 shots per game but has a free throw rate of only 26.2% (compared to NBA average of 31.2%- the only average I could find). This shows what I have been seeing, which is that Barnes is settling for jump shots and not seeking contact, to get to the line.
Will this change as he becomes more comfortable in the college game and UNC's system? I hope so. While UNC has been decent on offense so far (39th in adjusted efficiency) much of their success has come against weak opponents. In their 3 losses, UNC has an offensive rating of 88.2 (Minnesota), 90.3 (Vandy) and 91.8 (Illinois). They need some to step up and score consistently and if Barnes wants to be the #1 pick, he needs to fill that role.
Conversely, many people are jumping on the Jared Sullinger bandwagon. While he does a ton of good stuff, he needs some refining (as do most freshman, of course). His breakout game was against Florida but many of his buckets came off of OSU breaking the press and Sullinger getting open dunks. I wrote here that Sullinger has a limited arsenal of post moves right now. While he will continue to score in college, he needs some work on the offensive end to compete against NBA players.
That said, his rebounding rates are great and he gets a ton of easy points after attacking the offensive glass. I think that is his biggest strength right now and something the Sixers could use.
My favorite of the three so far is Jones. He has showed awareness on the court and an above average basketball IQ. Watch him seal the defender here and get an easy layup (here). That is a move I have not seen from Sullinger, who has tried to bully his way past the defense so far. Jones shows awareness of recognizing the defense and taking advantage of the holes.
Baylor has not played much competition yet, so it has been hard to draw any conclusions on him yet. If you get a chance, definitely catch a Baylor game. Watch Jones, but LaceDarius Dunn and Quincy Acy are a joy to watch as well.
I know this is kind of a redundant post, but feel free to jump in with your own thoughts on these three.
Another user-created commentary provided by a Liberty Ballers reader.