The labels were already there for Harrison Barnes leading up to the 2012 draft. A bust they called him after his stint at North Carolina after being heralded as the top recruit in years only two years prior. Here he had the unwitting task of trying to hoist a team upon his frail shoulders. He could not which in turn brought him into the perfect situation, the Golden State Warriors.
There were plenty of worries going into draft night about Barnes. Did his propensity to disappear in big moments make him more like another Tar Heel standout Marvin Williams or was his talent level so great that he could avoid such pratfalls? Questions were quickly answered as Barnes had a good rookie campaign followed by an outstanding playoff performance.
Barnes felt right at home with no longer being the focal point of opposing teams’ defenses. The 20-year-old phenom went on to average 9.2 points per game while also pulling in over four boards per game. During the playoffs those numbers spiked to 16.6 points per game and over six rebounds. He thrived off of pick and pop situations with lethal shooters Steph Curry and Klay Thompson allowing the Warriors unlimited spacing on the floor.
The Warriors decided to not sit idle this offseason and obtained Andre Igoudala. The forward who is known for his defense, ball movement and rebounding will send Barnes back to the bench where he will head the second unit.
Barnes has shown enough that he can and will adjust to the change. The Warriors, who are no strangers to small ball, will use an array of lineups to put Barnes in mismatches where he can dominate. Don’t expect a sophomore slump from Barnes because the Warriors continually put him in a position to succeed without feeling like he has the world on his shoulders.