Harrison Barnes performed impressively well in the spotlight during the NBA playoffs in 2013. While his career seems to be taking off and Harrison appears to develop into a star, he might find himself playing off the bench after starting as a rookie.
Obviously the addition of Andre Iguodala this offseason created this predicament, and Barnes just might have to play as sixth man as a consequence.
As a hypothetical exercise, I have gone through the other teams around the NBA to gauge if Harrison Barnes would start on other rosters. These teams don’t lose a player; it’s not a question of if they would trade for Barnes. Each team simply has him on their roster, and I get to decide if Barnes would start when comparing his game to the of each teams’ SG, SF, and PF.
Harrison Barnes showed his versatility in the playoffs; the Barnes that each team gets is roughly at that level of play. Age isn’t taken into account except for with older players whose contributions seem to be declining. This arbitrary list of comparisons fits Barnes best at SF, and slightly diminishes his desirability to start if he would take the spot of a PF or SG. I try to give the benefit of the doubt to the starters on the other teams (if its close to a tie for who to start, the incumbent player wins over Barnes).
With that being said, he would start in over 70% of NBA teams, according to my analysis:
Atlanta Hawks – Yes; Kyle Korver makes his name at the three point line. While Barnes is only a decent three-point shooter, he would get the start because of his size, strength, speed and a better defending ability.
Boston Celtics – Yes; Jeff Green is a solid starter, so Barns wouldn’t step in at SF. The Celtics could put him in at SG instead of Courtney Lee, who is better suited to bring his three point shooting off the bench.
Brooklyn Nets – No; The Nets boast a great starting lineup that lacks any room for Barnes to start. The Nets would take the younger player in an instant over the older Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett, but that isn’t the theme of this article.
Charlotte Bobcats – No; While Barnes had a better rookie campaign, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist keeps his starting spot with the addition of Barnes. 7’0″ Cody Zeller’s frame earns him the node over Harrison Barnes, although I could certainly see Barnes start against smaller lineups.
Chicago Bulls – No; With Boozer, Deng and Butler playing PF, SF and SG respectively Barnes doesn’t have a starting role in Chicago.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Yes; Harrison Barnes is a no brainer to start over Earl Clark.
Dallas Mavericks – Yes; Harrison Barnes would start over Shawn Marion, who, in his 14th year, is edging closer to ending his career.
Denver Nuggets – Yes; Barnes would play over Danilo Gallinari. While Gallinari’s offense is on par with Barnes, Gallinari lacks Harrison’s defensive ability.
Detroit Pistons – No; offseason addition Josh Smith leaves no room for Harrison Barnes. Barnes could take the place of Chauncey Billups, but the 16-year veteran still shoots with great precision and deserves his respect.
Houston Rockets – No; Chandler Parsons ability really showed last year; both James Harden and Omer Asik keep their positions over Barnes. However, I could see Barnes starting various games over Asik for a smaller lineup.
Indiana Pacers – Yes; the Pacers weakest position is the SF, Barnes would replace Danny Granger.
LA Lakers – Yes; Harrison Barnes would start over Nick Young.
LA Clippers – Yes; Harrison Barnes is a better option than Jared Dudley.
Memphis Grizzlies – Yes; Tayshaun Prince is a savvy veteran, but Barnes would start over him.
Miami Heat – Yes; Udonis Haslem is the same hight as Barnes, but 20 pounds heavier. Barnes is the better basketball player, and would get the start at PF. Barnes also has yet to fully grow into his body.
Milwaukee Bucks – Yes; Caron Butler is a talented player, but Harrison would get the start over him.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Yes; Chase Budinger is not the player Harrison Barnes is.
New Orleans Pelicans – No; Tyreke Evans is a quality player, and I would give the edge to Harrison Barnes, but he still has to prove himself to be a clear start over Evans.
New York Knicks – No; Carmelo Anthony would start at SF; Harrison could replace Iman Shumpert as SG, but the Knicks would have a towering team if that happened.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Yes; Thabo Sefolosha is a fantastic defender, but Barnes brings quality defense as well, on the offensive side of the game Barnes is clearly the better player.
Orlando Magic – Yes; Barnes would start over Tobias Harris.
Philadelphia 76ers – Yes; the 76ers would start him over Evan Turner, who is going into a contract year.
Phoenix Suns – Yes; Gerald Green would move to the bench to make room for Harrison Barnes.
Portland Trial Blazers – No; Nicolas Batum is a solid player, and both Wesley Matthews and LaMarcus Aldridge would both keep their starting status.
Sacramento Kings – Yes; Barnes gets the nod over Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
San Antonio Spurs – Yes; Barnes would play SG over Danny Green. Anyone in Popovich’s system will excel.
Toronto Raptors – Yes; Rudy Gay would probably stay at SF, but Harrison would replace Amir Johnson at PF.
Utah Jazz – Yes; Harrison Barnes would take Gordon Hayward’s place at SF, and Hayward would rotate to SG (a position that fits his playing style better). Alec Burks would play off the bench.
Washington Wizards – Yes; Otto Porter Jr. looks to be an every day starter in the NBA and possibly a star. However, Porter hasn’t played professional ball yet. If Barnes played for Washington, he would get the start simply because of his proven ability.
So there you have it. Each team in the NBA with the question of Harrison Barnes starting answered; more often than not, the starter who he would replace. If you disagree with me please bring it up in the comment section and we can further analyze each particular situation you bring up.