“Harrison Barnes is a lot better than he thinks.” The words of Bob Fitzgerald ring in my head. I cannot get over the fact that he is right, and that Harrison Barnes will eventually become one of the elites of the NBA.
Right now, he’s averaging 9 PPG in his rookie year, while showing flashes of brilliance, but a bit of inconsistency. That’ll be worked out after his rookie year ends. As of now, however, he is a lot better than his stats show.
Whenever Barnes tries driving to the basket, good things happen. He either gets fouled hard, or gets a high percentage shot. Sometimes he doesn’t make the shot, although there is a lot of contact, but he will begin to get the whistle if he keeps doing it. When he is fouled, he is a 70% free throw shooter. That’s not the best for a small forward, but then again, that’s something he can improve. A huge chunk of points would be attributed to the fact that Barnes can drive. He can’t finish the shot, but that comes with experience.
Barnes will sometimes shoot the three pointer which he only shoots 38% on. Unfortunately for him, he gets pulled when he doesn’t do what he’s supposed to. Sometimes he doesn’t think that he’ll get to the basket, but he always ends up penetrating the defense. He becomes so surprised that he misses the wide open layups. Once Barnes practices these things, he will be an unstoppable force off the dribble, as one of the Warriors more athletic players.
In a couple of years, the Warriors will surprised to see that Barnes will be the go-to guy down the stretch. He may not be like Stephen Curry, where he will take the game tying three pointer, but in a quick two-for-one situation, Barnes is the guy driving right to the basket. He doesn’t know it yet, but he can score in bunches if he gets some more practice.
If he learns to correct these rookie mistakes that he makes, he will see his scoring output more than double. Earlier this year, he had a couple of double-doubles, but hasn’t since. He is an athletic player, and that provides some rebounding for the Warriors. He and Klay Thompson are two of the reasons the Warriors have been so much better rebounding.
Once Barnes works on his ball-handling more, he’ll be able to snatch a rebound, sprint down the floor, give the old razzle-dazzle, and finish with a bone chilling dunk on the other end. He’s already posterized big guys like Ersan Ilyasova and Nikola Pekovic, so he has the driving ability.
As soon as he starts to realize that he’s a scorer and nothing else, his overall game will improve, and he will have a great shot at the all-star game. Barnes will likely see his scoring output at 19 points per game in a few years. Rookie development and confidence are both holding him back right now.