Harrison Barnes had a pretty successful rookie season in the NBA last year. He averaged 9.2 points and grabbed 4.1 rebounds per game shooting 44 percent. Those are pretty decent numbers for a rookie, but nothing spectacular.
Barnes instead really showed his worth in the playoffs, where he averaged 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest. Maybe even more importantly, he was able to show off his versatility. The Golden State Warriors have a really good young player in Barnes.
When Warriors All-Star forward David Lee went down with a leg injury, coach Mark Jackson moved Barnes down to the power forward spot. His ability to shoot and create off the dribble made it hard for opposing big men to guard him, while his size allowed him to stand his ground defensively.
Now that Golden State has signed All-Star swingman Andre Iguodala, it looks like Barnes will be moving into the sixth-man role. Having a player of his skill set coming off the bench will be a great asset to the Warriors this upcoming NBA season.
Barnes is athletic and long. He will be able to come in and guard multiple positions. Barnes can come in for one of the other wings or for one of the bigs allowing them to go small. Either way, Jackson will have some options when bringing him into the game.
As the season progressed in 2012-13, Barnes was able to improve his ball handling. Because of this, he was able to create his own shot. For the most part, this came in the form of the one-dribble, pull-up jump shot.
Barnes’ skill to create with the ball should continue to grow and will be huge for him and the team. When he is in with other bench players, he will have to be the leader by being the focal point of the offense. With his skill set and versatility, he should have no problem doing just that.
It’s a little strange to see a player after a promising rookie season move to the bench the next year. This isn’t a bad thing, though, as it shows the Warriors’ depth at the wing position. Barnes’ talent and size will allow him to thrive as a sixth man, and the Warriors will benefit greatly from him in that role.