The Black Falcon, better known as Harrison Barnes, is a young 21-year old trying to find his role in the NBA. This season has been tough on him as he is not having the ordinary sophomore slump. Barnes has been put in a tough position, yet has accepted it with a positive attitude. The Golden State Warriors made a move to sign guard/forward Andre Iguodala in the offseason. While the deal looked good for the first couple of months of the season and people did not notice Barnes’ struggles, now they do with Iguodala being virtually a non-factor. Barnes has never come off the bench in his basketball career, but was more than willing to do so if it meant the Warriors would be getting better. The problem now is that at the All-Star break, the Warriors are 31-21 and sit in 8th place in an extremely tough Western Conference. There has not been much improvement with the team, if any, and a lot of the blame is falling on Barnes. It is unfair and the Warriors should not trade him, especially with the absurd trade speculations that have been coming out as reports.
Iguodala took a pay-cut to play in the Bay Area, but it also seems like he cut back on Barnes’ potential, growth, and development. Barnes was a monster in the playoffs last season and one of the main contributing factors as to why Golden State was so successful. Unlike most rookies in the playoffs, Barnes actually became better in the playoffs compared to the regular season. He was averaging 16 points per game along with 6.4 rebounds, most of it against a resilient San Antonio Spurs defense. He filled in for David Lee when he was injured and played well enough to show that he can be a potential star in this league. Those were the good days. Looking at what has occurred so far this season, you can see misdirection. Some people will blame Iguodala, others will point fingers at Coach Mark Jackson. Barnes should be starting. Off the bench, Barnes is scoring 10 points per game and shooting 41 percent from the field. His confidence is at an all-time low and one way to change that is to let him play with the starting core of players, where he is comfortable. He has shown recently that he is still the same Barnes that could be a very good player in this league when Lee was injured. In February, Barnes is having averages of 13.4 points on 48 percent shooting from the field. Coach Jackson has to utilize his talented players the correct way or else they will go to waste. Barnes has been a perfect example.
If the Warriors bring Iguodala off the bench, they will be a better team. This gives the bench two play-makers who can give Stephen Curry some much needed rest. Jordan Crawford and Iggy would control the ball and help set up other players while looking for their own shots as well, playing with the second unit. Barnes will start next to Curry and Klay Thompson, where he is obviously comfortable. Curry demands so much attention, as does Thompson on the wings. This opens up the floor for Barnes to use his athleticism and attack the rim. Lee is a great passer for a big man, as is Andrew Bogut. Playing with four players who compliment Barnes well will help him get better as he progresses into the star people were hoping he would become. The coaching staff needs to do the right thing and start Barnes. His development will slow down and lose some pieces to it if he is not used to the best of his abilities.
Barnes is a team player and a good guy to have on the team. He is talented and mature. He will do whatever it takes to win and take any role he can get, but he should have the role that will benefit him and the team the most. Trading Barnes for Jarrett Jack will not make much sense for the Warriors, unless their main goal is to win the title this season or the next, resulting in not worrying too much about the future. The Warriors need to get over their Jack-love. He did a lot for the team and covered for Curry a lot in the playoffs, but he is not the savior Golden State needs. A decent back up point guard that can pass would be good enough. One who can stay in the game for 12-17 minutes to get Curry some rest. Trading Barnes for Jack does not benefit the Warriors nor turn them into a legitimate championship contender. Dion Waiters is a solid player, but he has had a disappointing season thus far in a better situation where he does get minutes and is a starter. Barnes is a better player and has a brighter future.
The trade scenarios are not the best for the Warriors and they need to realize what they have is solid enough that they can beat any team in the league in a 7 game series at their best. They are at their best when Barnes is playing like we know he can. If Jackson puts his players in a spot where they are comfortable, the team will win. Simple as that. Put the speculations away and realize that Barnes is a great, young piece that will help Golden State for years to come. He needs to start. Some players just cannot play well off the bench, and Barnes is a classic case of that type of player. His value is low at the moment, but two years from now the Warriors would know that they pulled the trigger when they should not have. When a player this talented is feeling in the norm, the team will be able to excel. He is having low numbers because of the position he is in right now. He will be fine in the second half of the season as he has been getting better and adjusted to what he is being asked to do. He is the X-Factor for the Warriors..this is a memo to them: do not trade Harrison Barnes.