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Harrison Barnes Disappoints Reviewed by Momizat on . Harrison Barnes has let many down so far this season. After breaking out in the playoffs last season and averaging 16.1 points per game, many expected Barnes to Harrison Barnes has let many down so far this season. After breaking out in the playoffs last season and averaging 16.1 points per game, many expected Barnes to Rating: 0
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Harrison Barnes Disappoints

Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes has let many down so far this season.

After breaking out in the playoffs last season and averaging 16.1 points per game, many expected Barnes to play like a stud this season. However, the second-year player has taken a step back.

His scoring average has slightly improved, but that’s more so a product of added minutes. When we compare his statistical output per 36 minutes from last season and this one, it becomes obvious that he’s taken a step back.

Barnes has lost some of his confidence, and as a result the Golden State Warriors’ forward is playing out of character. Barnes is forcing up shots on occasion, and he’s been less judicious when attacking the basket.

Barnes is going to the rim, which is normally a good thing. However, he’s throwing himself into a swarm of defenders and missing at the basket. Have a look at the example below:

Per NBA.com, Barnes is only converting 53.3 percent of his field-goal attempts in the restricted area. As a reference point, Klay Thompson (60.7 percent) and Andre Iguodala (68.5 percent) have been vastly superior. This partly explains why Barnes is only hitting 39.5 percent of his shots this season.

The former UNC Tar Heel has looked lost at times as a result of his confidence taking a nosedive. Barnes hinted as much to Diamond Leung of the San Jose Mercury News when asked to grade his overall performance in late January:

Obviously personally, probably not that high because one thing I wanted to focus on coming into the season was consistency. I haven’t been able to accomplish that, but as a team, we’ve been able to do well.

Barnes’ struggles have resulted in him highlighting the list of most disappointing sophomores according to ESPN.com’s David Thorpe (Insider):

This is a man who should be dynamic on the wing in transition and, as a second-unit player, abusing wings in the post (he has the potential to have a strong post game). But it’s just not happening. Barnes is only 21, and still growing into his body, so there is hope for him. Perhaps we’ll see another postseason surge from him.

How bad is it?

Well, Thorpe left Barnes out of his top-20 (!) NBA sophomores. The likes of Kendall Marshall, Draymond Green and Jeremy Lamb are all on that list.

The Barnes issue is fascinating and complicated at the same time. If we were simply to forget his postseason performance from last year, his numbers are close enough to his rookie year that this shouldn’t inspire a huge debate among Warriors fans.

Nonetheless, Barnes teased us in the 2013 postseason, and there is no going back. Many are quick to point out that his move to the second unit has flummoxed him, and there is certainly something to that. It’s an observation I shared over at Bleacher Report:

Barnes has been pressing throughout the season, and this seems like it has happened because of his demotion. It’s an interesting ongoing development given that he is actually getting more minutes than last year.

And yet, when we look at his production both as a starter and reserve, the numbers are lining up more as the season progresses. Have a look of the data courtesy of Basketball Reference:

Role

Games

Minutes

Points

Rebounds

FG%

Starter

19

37.4

12.3

4.7

.415

Reserve

47

24.7

8.4

3.7

.384

Now look what happens when we take his output and project it over 36 minutes per game (per NBA.com):

Role

Games

Points

Rebounds

FG%

Starter

19

11.8

4.5

.415

Reserve

47

12.2

5.4

.384

This suggests that the issue is not Barnes’ role, but rather his approach to it. Barnes’ production as a starter has basically mirrored what he’s done as a reserve, which seems counterintuitive.

One would have expected him to perform better as a member of the opening five-man unit. With the starters, Barnes’ lone responsibility is to finish plays via a jump shot or attempt at the rim.

On the flip side, as a bench player, head coach Mark Jackson has tasked him with creating offense through post-ups and drives, which are a little more difficult. Nonetheless, Barnes has basically submitted identical figures in both scenarios.

Whether we want to admit it or not, this version of Barnes might be an exact replica of the one we saw last season. We just refuse to admit it to ourselves because of heightened expectations.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at JM.Poulard@Warriorsworld.net.

About The Author

JM.Poulard

J.M. Poulard is the Warriors World editor. He is also a contributor to ESPN TrueHoop sites Forum Blue and Gold (Los Angeles Lakers), Piston Powered (Detroit Pistons) and Raptors Republic (Toronto Raptors). He has a particular fondness for watching Eastern Conference ball games and enjoys the history of the sport. Feel free to reach out to him on Twitter (@ShyneIV).

Number of Entries : 538
  • Steve

    Poor coaching. They’ve mishandled Barnes from the start of the season. Most of his early minutes came with most, if not all, of the second unit. He struggled in that environment and lost confidence. He should have been coming off the bench earlier in the game and playing with 3-4 starters. In fact, they should have more rotations like this – blending starters with reserves.

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