The Clippers’ forward is having an amazing year, averaging 11 points and shooting 50 percent. He’s also getting more playing time than he’s used to, averaging 25 minutes. He says the improvement is in large part due to coaching. Barnes stated:
"I've been working hard these past few summers. Last year, playing with the Lakers, I was told when I could shoot. If I made mistakes, I'd come out of the game. This year [Coach] Vinny [Del Negro] has installed a lot of trust in me. He lets me go out there and play my game. If I mess up, he still sticks with me and that goes a long way with any player. Coach [Del Negro] has confidence in me; that's all I need. I can play. I've just been stuck in a bad situation for a little while."
However, Barnes only averaged three less minutes a game last season with the Lakers, but shot 45 percent, making only 7 points per game on average.
Granted, Coach Brown may have been using Barnes in a way that was less than ideal, but Barnes also plays in a way that seeks to inflate his own stats. He’s a shooter, but often looks to shoot instead of quickly evaluating what’s the best play.
His shortcomings were exposed in the playoffs, when his shooting percentage plummeted to 27 percent, and his minutes consequently fell. Since that’s Barnes’ last impression of coach Mike Brown, it makes sense that it’s what’s fresh in his mind, but the simple fact is that Brown gave him as much of a chance as Del Negro.
Barnes flourished when Ramon Sessions joined the Lakers because he does well with a faster style of play, and this is more likely the reason that he’s playing so well for the Clippers, not his minutes.
Whatever the reason, it’s always good to see a player catch fire late in his career, and he’s been integral in the Clippers’ win streak.