In the past, the Golden State Warriors have been ridiculed for their performance in the NBA, but they now have a future with a talented rookie in Harrison Barnes. In desperate need of raw talent, Barnes was selected with the seventh pick of the 2012 NBA Draft by Golden State.
Born May 30, 1992 in Ames, Iowa, the 6’8 small forward, was rated number one in the class of 2010 by Scout.com and ESPNU 100. His junior year at Ames High School he led his team to a championship ending their season with a 26-0 record. Senior year, Barnes led his team to a 27-0 record and Ames High School’s second state championship.
During his senior year in 2010 Barnes was selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team and the 2010 McDonald’s All American Game. Barnes attended the University of North Carolina and was named ACC Rookie of the Year in 2011. During the NCAA Tournament game during Barnes’ freshmen year he made UNC history by scoring 84 total points.
Notably, Barnes is also known as Black Falcon. Before the 2010 Jordan Brand Classic he was coined ‘Black Falcon’. Barnes reported, “I wanted mine to be an animal, because Michael Jordan was the ‘Black Cat’ and Kobe was the ‘Black Mamba.’ And they just gave me the ‘Black Falcon.” Having a nickname that lies with two greats, Jordan and Bryant, could allude to Barnes’ career in the NBA. Both players made great contributions to their teams just as Barnes projects to make.
The small forward is making huge strides his first year. He is averaging 9.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 1.2 APG. Recently, Barnes matched a career high with 21 points on February 2, during a win over Phoenix. Barnes averages 25.3 minutes per game (MPG); Golden State coach Mark Jackson is giving Barnes plenty of time to improve and perfect his game early on in the season, so they can use him for playoffs.
The Warriors have tried to build height for several years now, but power forward David Lee, who stands at 6’9, is sometimes put in to play center, suggesting that the Warriors aren’t a tall team. Barnes’ height is an impressive gain for the 2012 squad. The Warriors’ lack of height makes it quite difficult to play defense against bigger teams. Having men defending players more their own size will improve Golden State’s defense automatically, allowing them to have more energy to run the ball as they love to do. Barnes will be crucial to this phenomenon.
Barnes has sparked interest across the Bay Area, and if he keeps up his play, he has a chance of winning the 2012-2013 NBA Rookie of the Year award. Unlike other rookies, Barnes has found himself a big contributor to his team’s playoff chance.