The beauty of watching the Golden State Warriors during last season and their performance in the NBA Playoffs, was the chance to witness the development of a young core that will only get better with time and experience.
Seth Curry, Klay Thompson, Kent Bazemore, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green all carved out a niche for themselves in Mark Jackson’s game plan, some bigger than others. And then there is Harrison Barnes, who was no doubt an integral part in the Warriors going 47-35 on the season, beating the Denver Nuggets in the first round and putting up a fight against San Antonio, before falling to the Spurs (4-2) in the second round.
However, Barnes did showcase shortcomings at times during the season despite playing well in stretches during his rookie season. It was to be expected. It was an adjustment period (all 82 games and the postseason) for sure for the small forward coming out of North Carolina.
Perhaps his best play of the season came at a good time, as Barnes filled in for the injured David Lee versus the Nuggets and allowed Barnes to shine on a bigger stage as he logged minutes as a stretch four.
So what can we expect from Barnes during his sophomore campaign?
Will Jackson continue to find playing time for him as a stretch four? Did the offseason provide enough time to grow in the areas (moving without the ball, 3-pt shooting, being more aggressive in isolated situations, etc…) where he struggled last season? How will his numbers get better?
Yet, the better question is one that JM Poulard is currently debating at Warriors World.net – “Does Andre Iguodala Help or Hinder Harrison Barnes’ Development?
“Mark Jackson’s job is to put the best five players in the starting lineup and in the event Barnes is one of them, he will play alongside the starters. However, there is a chance he (Barnes) will be a much better fit coming off the bench where he will cause carnage for opposing teams.”
The long and short of it is this: Harrison Barnes can only get better playing alongside or even behind a guy like Iguodala. In this case, Iggy will help Barnes’ development although the veteran’s arrival from Denver will effect Barnes’ playing time or at least where Jackson finds time for him on the floor.
But Iggy’s addition to the Warriors extends beyond the impact he will have on merely Barnes. Take Golden State’s backcourt as a whole for a minute: Curry is 25 years old, Thompson is 23 years old, and Barnes is just 21 years old. It’s not like Iguodala is pushing senior citizen status by any means, but at 29 years old, the 9-year veteran has seen and done it all (aside from winning a title that is) from Philadelphia to Denver, competing at all-star levels in the NBA and internationally with Team USA.
His well-traveled experience and know-how around the game will be a welcomed addition to not only Barnes, but the rest of the organization.