The Golden State Warriors won 51 games last season, then they got bounced in the 1st round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Clippers and proceeded to fire their head coach Mark Jackson. They almost traded Klay Thompson for Kevin Love and they have a rookie head coach in Steve Kerr. With all that said the most important person for this Warriors team is Harrison Barnes.
Barnes was the seventh pick in the 2012 draft. He would come in and join Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Barnes started 81 games his rookie year only averaging 9 ppg, 4 rpg and shooting 35% from the three point line. He showed some flashes throughout the season but Curry and Thompson were the go-to guys.
The Warriors went on a run in the 2013 playoffs, upsetting the Nuggets in the 1st round and pushing the San Antonio Spurs to six games. Barnes was a different player in the playoffs. In 81 games during the regular season Barnes scored over 20 points only three times with a career high of 21 coming against the Suns in February.
In just 12 games in the playoffs Barnes scored over 20 points four times. He had back to back 25+ games against the Spurs. His scoring average jumped to 16.1 in the playoffs. He still had his share of bad games including a four point game against the Nuggets.
The Warriors were happy with Barnes progress and expected him to get better the following year. The Warriors picked up Andre Iguodala during the off-season and that pushed Barnes to the bench. He started 24 games and appeared in 78 overall. Although he was coming off the bench he played more minutes and averaged more minutes than his rookie season.
His numbers did not change. He averaged 9.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg and shot 34% from the three point line. He was essentially the same player. In the playoffs he was worst, his scoring went down and his minutes were way down compared to his rookie season.
Maybe the addition of Iguodala hurt Barnes growth. He should have learned from Iguodala and feasted on the second units of the NBA. Barnes is a 6’8 athlete who can really run the floor. His defense should get better from watching Iguodala. He still needs to work on his handle and he has to use his size to take advantage of small players.
The Warriors have the same team but they need Barnes to step it up if they want to go further in the playoffs. Draymond Green is a decent player but he should be looked at for defense off the bench while Barnes does the scoring. Iguodala and Barnes averaged fewer points than Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen.
Curry, Thompson and Lee are the anchors but the West is tough and the Warriors need another weapon off the bench. They need Barnes to give the second unit some firepower. He plays almost 30 minutes a game so he needs to average at least 13 points to help this Warriors team.