Is Barnes The Answer For Golden State?
However, numbers aren't my concern with Barnes. He's got great small forward size at 6'8'' 228 and is a nice athlete. He averaged 17.1 points on 44% shooting (36% from three) with 5.2 boards. Those are really good numbers, but as I said, numbers are not my concern.
What concerns me about Barnes is his demeanor on the court. I never saw that fire in his eyes like you see out of Kobe or Carmelo. He would disappear for stretches of the game, especially towards the end of tight games. He didn't seem to demand the ball the way a truly confident scorer does. To me, that doesn't translate to a great NBA scorer.
I'm not saying Barnes will be bad, I'm just saying I don't expect him to hit the 20 point per game mark that many people are predicting. I think he's a solid player, just not the kind of guy a team can rely on as their go-to scorer. He was 8th in my NBA Draft player rankings, for what it's worth.
I think the Warriors got good value out of Barnes at the 7th pick. As I said, he was my 8th ranked player, and the Warriors needed a small forward. Barnes was definitely the best small forward available to them. I think he'll help them with their offense, giving them a mid-range threat who can create a shot for himself.
Here's what I'd really like to see out the Warriors, however. Find a decent point guard and move Stephen Curry (their current point guard) to the shooting guard position. I think Curry has the potential to be one of the NBA's elite scorers. He can shoot the ball lights out. Absolutely, positively lights out. He's primarily a jump shooter, and over the past two seasons he's averaged 17.6 points per game on 48.2% from the field and 44.5% from three. That's incredible. It's not that Curry is an awful point guard or anything, he just is such a good scorer that the Warriors should allow that to be his primary focus.
This would also maximize Barnes' potential. With Curry focusing on scoring, opposing defenses will have to spread way out to cover his unlimited range. This would give Barnes more room to operate in the mid-range, where he is at his best offensively. In addition, he wouldn't have to be the man who needs to demand the ball down the stretch. Curry could take the Batman roll and Barnes could simply help when he's needed.
If they make that move and find a solid point guard, I think Curry would light up the scoreboard for this defensive-minded, Mark Jackson coached team. Barnes would then likely be a very solid third scoring option (to Curry and David Lee). With Andrew Bogut banging down in the paint, we could start talking about the Warriors making playoff runs again.