Matt Barnes has been nothing short of dominant for the Los Angeles Clippers since the trade deadline.
The 10-year veteran contributed 17 points, four rebounds, two assists, a block, and a steal in the Clippers’ win over the Atlanta Hawks. Barnes has averaged 17.3 points since the trade deadline.
With JJ Redick‘s injury problems and Jared Dudley‘s inconsistencies, the Clippers desperately needed a viable option to start for them at small forward. Barnes has filled the Clippers’ void admirably.
Barnes’ performances as of late wouldn’t be possible if he didn’t pay extra attention to basketball’s intricacies. In the win over the Hawks, Barnes displayed excellent off-ball movement. Early in the first quarter, Barnes made a beautiful cut to the basket while Chris Paul was being double teamed at the top of the key. Paul noticed Barnes’ move and quickly passed him the ball, which led to an easy bucket for Barnes.
If Barnes continues to perform like he has since the trade deadline, he may end up the Clippers’ starting small forward for the foreseeable future. While Barnes is far from a superstar, he is the type of player that will always contribute to a team’s win regardless of how his stat line looks. Even if Barnes only scores two points in a game, his efforts are felt on the defensive end. Barnes is also one of the best characters in the Clippers’ locker room.
All in all, Matt Barnes is the player the Clippers want to have at small forward night in and night out. If the UCLA product can continue his current run of production, he may force the Clippers to keep him in the starting lineup.
That may not be a bad thing for Clipper Nation.