The Golden State Warriors have proven throughout this season that they are one of the most talented teams in the NBA, particularly on offense. With the performances that Stephen Curry, Jarrett Jack, Klay Thompson and David Lee have all put on at various times this season, it’s no wonder why they’re the six-seed in the Western Conference.
However, another talented young player on their roster that often goes overlooked is rookie Harrison Barnes. Barnes has actually played a much bigger role than you might expect for the 42-32 Warriors, starting in all 73 games that he’s been suited up for this season and averaging 25.4 minutes per game.
Barnes’ stat line isn’t remarkable or anything that we’ve never seen before. In fact, it’s relatively mediocre. For the season he is averaging just 9.3 points, four rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.7 steals per game, while shooting only 44.7 percent from the field and just 35.3 percent from long range. He’s been leaving his mark in most categories on the box score, but he’s not excelling in any.
Watching Barnes this season, though, it’s hard to deny the potential that he has as a professional basketball player. A lot of the reason that he hasn’t seen too much success offensively is because he’s still a young kid who is still figuring out the pro game.
Too many times, he settles for jump shots when that’s not really one of his strengths. He has been relatively solid defensively, especially in the context of a mediocre defensive team like Golden State.
As Barnes goes into next season, he needs to focus more on playing to his strengths and how he can effectively do that. He has the quickness and athleticism to get to the rim, which is also where he’s the most effective at scoring the basketball, so he needs to find ways to get into the paint.
If he does that, he probably still won’t be an All-Star caliber player, but he will definitely be a player who can contribute on a good young team like the Warriors.